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National Restaurant Association - Hurricane news and resources

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Industry Impact

Hurricane news and resources

A note from the National Restaurant Association

The National Restaurant Association is proud to support restaurant and hospitality businesses affected by Hurricane Michael.

In Washington, the Association is taking a lead role in urging Congress, the White House, the Small Business Administration and other agencies to help restaurants reopen as soon as possible.

We support numerous efforts by the restaurant and hospitality industry throughout the country to raise money and work with local charities for relief efforts. We're especially heartened by support organizations that help restaurant employees affected by the storms.

A message from state executives Carol Dover, Karen Bremer, Mindy Hanan
and Association President & CEO Dawn Sweeney

Hurricane Michael battered the Florida panhandle this week before rapidly moving across the southeastern United States, leaving tens of thousands of businesses and homes in ruins and causing billions of dollars in damages in its wake. While it is still too early to determine the impact the storm has had on our industry in that region, restaurant owners and operators are working hard to reopen and begin serving their communities again.  

In Tallahassee, restaurants are providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the police department, fire department, city and county emergency operations officials, and EMS personnel.  We know this is happening across the region, and many have already reached out asking how to help.   We ask that if you or someone you know can be supportive, please direct them to one of these local entities that are working within the impacted regions.    

We also want to thank the Coca-Cola Co. and the Coca-Cola Foundation for all they are doing to help the hurricane’s victims. On Oct. 12, the Foundation pledged a donation of $1 million to the American Red Cross to provide immediate resources for emergency food and shelter across the Florida Panhandle and southeastern United States. The company also teamed up with Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, its local bottling partner, to donate more than 70,000 bottles of water to the Red Cross and other local community organizations throughout the region. And, in demonstrating the true spirit of giving, Coca-Cola North America is matching employee contributions to its Employee Disaster Relief Fund. The company is matching up to $100,000.

In Florida, various groups and organizations are working around the clock to provide support and relief to those impacted by the storm. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is working with a number of members to coordinate hot meals for first responders and residents in areas where power will be unavailable for one month or longer. Today, Oct. 15, Texas Roadhouse is sending a truck to hard-hit Calhoun County that is capable of cooling and cooking food as needed. The truck has enough food and water to provide 2,000 hot meals to those in need. We believe this effort illustrates hospitality at its finest

Our Associations also are united in support of hurricane-affected restaurant communities at the state, local and federal levels. We are working closely with our elected leaders and government officials.  For more information about the hurricane and recovery efforts, please visit the National Restaurant Association’s Hurricane Resources webpage.   

One of the great things about our industry is our resilience and the way we come together to support one another in the wake of disasters.  We greatly appreciate you keeping everyone in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama in your thoughts and prayers as recovery efforts begin.


The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is asking all businesses impacted by the hurricane to complete a survey to help them determine the strategy needed to help those businesses get back on their feet quickly. If you have been afffected by Huricane Michael, select "2018 Michael" as the event. Here is the link to the survey:


Latest news

From the National Restaurant Association

Restaurants begin recovery following Hurricane Michael
How to handle the aftermath of a hurricane (VIDEO)

Restaurants brace for impact s Michael makes landfall
Find resources to prepare for Hurricane Michael

Other resources

Few businesses maintain power in wake of Hurricane Michael’s wrath
Operators grapple with power outages after Hurricane Michael
Graffiti history on restaurant shows how many hurricanes it’s endured
Hurricane Michael: Drone video of Panama City damage
Hurricane Michael forced Waffle House to close 30 restaurants
How renowned chef Jose Andres’ team is preparing for Hurricane Michael
Hurricane Michael affects seafood industry

State Restaurant Association Resources

Employer/Employee Resources

Small Business Administration
SBA has several forms of financial assistance for small businesses. Those resources range from working capital loans to disaster assistance loans. Interest rates on the loans can be as low as 3.3 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations. The SBA sets the amounts and terms, which are based on applicants' financial condition. Businesses can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and other assets.

Department of Labor
The Department of Labor provides income and job assistance after a disaster. For more information, call 866) 4-USA-DOL (487-2365).

Disaster Unemployment Assistance
This provides financial assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster and who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency
FEMA is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security. It is closely monitoring the progress of Hurricane Florence, and is offering tips and tools to help with preparedness. If you need further assistance, contact:

FEMA Director for the Office of External Affairs
Jessi Nalepa

Public-Private Partnership Council Lead, Office of External Affairs
Adoratia Purdy
(202) 455-9476

FEMA National Business Emergency Operations Center

The following are additional resources for restaurateurs needing assistance:

The FloridaDisaster.Biz Business Disaster Toolkit
This toolkit provides businesses with information on preparedness, response, and recovery issues. Click here to learn how to prepare your business BEFORE disaster strikes, help keep your workplace and employees safe DURING and what you should do AFTER to recover and rebuild. Go to www.FLGetAPlan.com to build your customized business disaster plan and encourage your employees to build a customized family emergency plan.

FloridaDisaster.Biz Resource System
This partnership between the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM provides a centralized location for resource requests from voluntary agencies, and to give businesses in the area who want to help an avenue to assist their neighbors. Resources are requested and offered through the system. Register the business on FloridaDisaster.biz to utilize the resource management system. If your business is impacted by a recent hurricane, fill out the Business Damage Assessment Form. The information provided will be shared with various state and local agencies to expedite implementation of appropriate disaster relief programs for businesses.

Open/Closed Business Status Reporting
The ESF18 State Emergency Response Team is interested in your store’s open/closed status, if a store is partially open or open with reduced resources, the challenges it is facing and if closed, the obstacles it faces to reopen. If you are registered with the Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center, and your locations are currently populated, log in here and utilize the “Status Update” tool to identify your open/closed status. Businesses may also report this information via email to esf18@em.myflorida.com or via the Private Sector Hotline at 850-410-1403.

Protecting your business from price gouging
Florida’s price-gouging law applies statewide. State law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities, such as food, ice, gas, hotels, lumber and water during a declared state of emergency. Specifically, F.S. 501.160 states that during a state of emergency, it is unlawful to sell, lease, offer to sell or offer for lease essential commodities, dwelling units, or self-storage facilities for an amount grossly exceeding the average price for that commodity during the 30 days before the declaration of the state of emergency. For more information on price gouging, click here. Report price gouging or contractor fraud during a declared state of emergency to the Attorney General’s Office at www.myfloridalegal.com or at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM. You may also report unlicensed contractors to the Department of Business & Professional Regulation at www.myfloridalicense.com or 1-866-532-1440.

Georgia's State of Emergency Declaration for  92 counties
Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for 92 counties. Georgia Restaurant Association members can find information on proper emergency procedures on the GRA page on Emergency Preparedness.

USDA food safety tips for hurricane-affected areas
Click here for a list of recommendations to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during severe weather events. In the wake of a Hurricane, there may likely be power outages and flooding.  Both pose a risk to the integrity of food and water.  Food safety requirements should be adhered to post-disaster if you are serving food to the public and to your own family. Be certain refrigerated food has been stored at correct temperatures of 41°F or below. Frozen food should be maintained at 0°F or below. Thawing should be conducted using only correct methods. Food packaging should be intact with no trace of water intrusion or exposure. In addition, if food has been exposed to storm-related water or debris of any type, it should be discarded and not be served. Visit the USDA or Florida’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants, to learn guidelines for emergency recovery.

Emergency Lodging Assistance
In response to hurricanes, FEMA activates the Emergency Lodging Assistance program. All lodging operators are encouraged to sign-up here. The ELA provides lodging reimbursement for pre-qualified individuals from designated disaster areas. The Federal Emergency Management Agency created the ELA program to provide temporary shelter as a result of a Federal disaster declaration. As administrator for this FEMA-funded preparedness initiative, CLC provides rules-based payments for all qualified applicants at participating hotels. Lodging properties can review frequently asked questions here, call 1-866-545-9865 or email femahousing@clclodging.com for assistance. Individuals or families searching for lodging may contact FEMA at 1-800-621-3362.

Other resources

Digital resources
Consult the following Social Media Channels:
FEMA’s YouTube Channel
FEMA's Facebook
FEMA Instagram

Consult the following websites:
Florida Division of Emergency Management
Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Volunteer Florida
Georgia Emergency Management Agency
Georgia Department of Agriculture: Hurricane Response Center
Georgia Department of Public Health: Hurricane Information
Centers for Disease Control: Food and Water Safety after a Disaster

Consult the following digital apps:
FEMA App for Apple and Android

Spanish Language Resources:
FEMA's Spanish Language Website

More tech tips and tools:
Download Florida Storms App (Google Play / iTunes)
Travel and roadways updates FL511.com or call 511
Use GasBuddy to find fuel.
Find a map of statewide power outages here. FPL customers can use the FPL Power Tracker map, and report or track outage information at www.FPL.com/outage or call 1-800-4-OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243).
Access Comcast’s free Xfinity WiFi and free Spectrum WiFi Hotspots.
Find tech tips from Verizon and AT&T.
Find boil water notices here

We anticipate that several organizations will be collecting donations for relief efforts following the storm. Please check back for a list and links to those organizations. 

Be mindful of charity scams 
Make sure your donations are going to the people that need help.  If you suspect you've encountered disaster fraud report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (866) 720-5721. The line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, e-mails can be sent to disaster@leo.gov, and information can be faxed to (225) 334-4707.



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