Resources for Businesses

Our Resources of Business Page will continue to be updated as more resources become available and announcements are made.  On this page, please find:

  • Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
  • Unemployment Resources
  • Alcohol Delivery and Takeout Guidance
  • SBA Loan Information
  • NRA & DOL Information  on Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA)
  • Closure Procedures and Drafty System Procedures

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ACT (AKA Phase-III)

On March 25, 2020 the U.S. Senate voted 96-0 to pass the Coronavirus Air, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).  The CARES Act represents phase-III of congressional action on the Coronavirus pandemic.  The House is expected to pass the measure tomorrow by a voice vote.The final language provides:

  • $349 billion in federally guaranteed loans to businesses
  • A fix to the Qualified Improvement Property (QIP) to allow businesses to immediately write off improvement costs
  • Employee retention tax credit
  • Modifications for Net Operating Losses (NOL)
  • Delay of payment of employer payroll taxes
  • $454 billion for loans, loan guarantees, and investments to the Federal Reserve for businesses
  • Additional tax relief

List of resources:

Read the NRA Summary from March 25

NRA CARES Act Webinar

ACA CARES Act Webinar

Ogletree Deakins CARES Act Webinar

NRA CARES Act FAQ's

Dept. of the Treasury Top-line overview of the Paycheck Protection Program

Dept. of the Treasury Paycheck Protection Program Information for Businesses

Unemployment Resources

On March 20, 2020, Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-11 which makes several changes to the unemployment program in Arizona.  These changes were pushed for by the Arizona Restaurant Association to help support the industry's employees.

The changes made by the the Governor's order includes:

  • Allows employees that have seen their hours reduced or eliminated to qualify for unemployment benefits.
  • Allows employees who are unable to work due to a quarantine and are out of paid leave to qualify for unemployment benefits.
  • Allows employees who leave employment due to a risk of exposure or infection, or to care for a family member to qualify for unemployment benefits.
  • Waives the one-week waiting period for receiving unemployment benefits.
  • Waives the job search requirement for unemployment benefits.
  • Prohibits the Department of Economic Security from using unemployment benefits grant due to COVID-19 to calculate the employer contribution rate.
  • Applies the order retroactive to March 11, 2020.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security (AZDES) has set up a resource page for bushiness and employees impacted by COVID-19 which can be found by visiting

Visit AZDES's COVID-19 Page

Alcohol Delivery and Takeout Guidance

On Friday, March 20, 2020, the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control (DLLC) issued rules to implement Governor Ducey’s Executive Order 2020-09 which allows restaurants to offer alcohol for sale along with delivery and takeout orders.  Today, DLLC issued a guidance document for implementation.

DLLC Guidance:

  • Restaurant licensees may temporarily sell alcohol through delivery, pick-up, and curb-side service.
  • Restaurant licensees that use pick-up and curb-side to sell alcohol must still only allow individuals 18 or older to sell the alcohol.
  • Beverages sold for delivery, pick-up, or curb-side service must be in a "sealed container" - a sealed container is any container of spirituous liquor which:
    • has an unbroken tax seal from the United States, or
    • has a cap, cork, or seal placed there by the manufacture.
  • Licensees may sell mixed drinks if they seal the container before removing it from the licensed premises and ensure the seal remains in place until the consumer takes possession.
  • Licensees may seal containers by capping and applying a plastic adhesive seal or by corking flush with the top of the bottle.

Licensees using delivery to sell alcohol must comply with the documentation requirements outlined by DLLC which can be accessed by visiting https://azliquor.gov/forms/inv_recdelivery_access.pdf

Read DLLC's full guidance memo

Arizona Restaurant Association Guidance:

Third-party delivery services

Alcohol deliveries should be made by restaurant employees and only made to individuals over the age of 21 with an ID that matches the name on the form of payment. Third-party delivery services lack crucial safeguards that help protect you from losing your liquor license, liability damages, and reputational damages. There is currently no way for third-party delivery services to perform proper ID checks and verify the ID matches order details nor is there a way for this to be documented as part of the record requirements. Additionally, since orders processed by third-party delivery services are paid to the third-party delivery service and not directly to the restaurant it would be a violation of Arizona Liquor Law since payment for alcohol must be paid to a licensed establishment. It is for these reasons we strongly advise against offering alcohol for sale through a third-party delivery service at this time until further clarification is offered by the appropriate authorities.

Insurance Considerations

There are two important insurance issues to consider when thinking about offering alcohol for sale with delivery or takeout.The first, does your liquor liability coverage have an exclusion for alcohol delivery or takeout and is your coverage sufficient for the expanded activity? You are highly encouraged to check with your broker and ask if you are covered at the appropriate level of your new offering.Second, if you are using employees to perform the delivery of alcohol (which is recommend by the ARA – see above) in their personal vehicles, you should check with your broker to make sure you have the proper coverage for DELIVERY. Your employees will need to have certain minimum limits on their personal coverage, and they should check to see if they are allowed to use their vehicles for business purposes. Ask your broker if the combination of your employee’s personal auto policy and your business auto policy is enough to protect you? Bottom line check with your broker and describe the activity you will be performing and ensure your policies are able to cover you!

Reminder: Alcohol may not be served for on-premises consumption

Restaurants are reminded that serving alcohol (or any drink) to a patron while they wait to pick up their takeout order is a violation of the Executive Order and a misdemeanor.   This means not serving of alcohol in the dining room, bar, or patio area.   Alcohol may only be served in for delivery or takeout for consumption off-premises just as food must be.

We highly encourage restaurants to reach the full DLLC guidance memo

SBA Loans for Arizona Businesses Affected by COVID-19

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for Arizona that will help small businesses here in the state impacted by COVID-19. Individual businesses can be eligible for up to $2 million through the program.

The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of COVID-19’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses without credit available elsewhere. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. Small businesses throughout the entire state that fit these criteria are eligible.

Arizona businesses impacted by COVID-19 may apply for the loan here.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (AKA Phase-II)

On March 18, 2020 President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA), also know as the phase-II bill. The act aims to provide paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for COVID-19 related reasons and creates the refundable paid sick leave credit and the paid child-care leave credit for eligible employers. Eligible employers are businesses and tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 500 employees that are required to provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family and medical leave under the act. Eligible employers will be able to claim these credits based on qualifying leave they provide between the effective date and Dec. 31, 2020. Equivalent credits are available to self-employed individuals based on similar circumstances.

The Arizona Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association are still waiting for guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on the provisions of FFCRA as many critical questions still remain unanswered surrounding the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave portions of the bill.   On March 20, 2020, the National Restaurant Association sent a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Labor, Eugene Scalia asking for clarification on a series of questions.

Update

On April 1, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a temporary rule detailing their regulations for the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As part of this release, DOL also updated their Q&A document which helps to guide employers and employees on the implementation of these programs. .   We encourage all businesses owners and operators to read the entire Q&A document (linked below), but some key points we think are important is outlined below:

  • Key provisions:
    • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.
    • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.
  • Effective Date:  the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA is April 1, 2020.
  • Employers impacted: employers with 500 or more employees, including employees across all separate establishments and divisions of a corporation.
  • Reasons for leave:
    • An employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, or is caring for someone subject to the order.
    • An employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19, or is caring for someone subject to a self-quarantine.
    • An employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
    • An employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.
    • Other reasons specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services  - Note: not other reasons have been identified at this time.
  • Duration of Leave: A full-time employee is eligible for up to 80 hours of leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period.  Except an employee, caring for child whose school or place of care is closed, is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave at 40 hours a week for full-time employees and a part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.
  • Calculation of Pay: 
    • Employees subject to a quarantine, self-quarantine or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 shall be paid at either their regular rate or the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).
    • Employees caring for an individual that is subject to a quarantine or self-quarantine shall be paid at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate (over a 2-week period).
    • Employees taking leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed shall be paid at 2/3 their regular rate or 2/3 the applicable minimum wage, whichever is higher, up to $200 per day and $12,000 in the aggregate (over a 12-week period—two weeks of paid sick leave followed by up to 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave).

Key Questions Answered by DOL

  • As an employer, how do I know if my business is under the 500-employee threshold and therefore must provide paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave? You have fewer than 500 employees if, at the time your employee’s leave is to be taken, you employ fewer than 500 full-time and part-time employees within the United States, which includes any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any Territory or possession of the United States. In making this determination, you should include employees on leave; temporary employees who are jointly employed by you and another employer, and day laborers.  Typically, a corporation (including its separate establishments or divisions) is considered to be a single employer and its employees must each be counted towards the 500-employee threshold.
  • If I am a private sector employer and have 500 or more employees, do the Acts apply to me? No. Private sector employers are only required to comply with the Acts if they have fewer than 500 employees.
  • If providing child care-related paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave at my business with fewer than 50 employees would jeopardize the viability of my business as a going concern, how do I take advantage of the small business exemption? To elect this small business exemption, you should document why your business with fewer than 50 employees meets the criteria set forth by the Department, which will be addressed in more detail in forthcoming regulations.  You should not send any materials to the Department of Labor when seeking a small business exemption for paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave.
  • When does the small business exemption apply to exclude a small business from the provisions of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?  An employer, including a religious or nonprofit organization, with fewer than 50 employees (small business) is exempt from providing (a) paid sick leave due to school or place of care closures or child care provider unavailability for COVID-19 related reasons and (b) expanded family and medical leave due to school or place of care closures or child care provider unavailability for COVID-19 related reasons when doing so would jeopardize the viability of the small business as a going concern. A small business may claim this exemption if an authorized officer of the business has determined that:
    • The provision of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would result in the small business’s expenses and financial obligations exceeding available business revenues and cause the small business to cease operating at a minimal capacity;
    • The absence of the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave would entail a substantial risk to the financial health or operational capabilities of the small business because of their specialized skills, knowledge of the business, or responsibilities; or
    • There are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, and qualified, and who will be available at the time and place needed, to perform the labor or services provided by the employee or employees requesting paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, and these labor or services are needed for the small business to operate at a minimal capacity.
  • If I am a small business with fewer than 50 employees, am I exempt from the requirements to provide paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?A small business is exempt from certain paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements if providing an employee such leave would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. This means a small business is exempt from mandated paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave requirements only if the:
    • employer employs fewer than 50 employees;
    • leave is requested because the child’s school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons; and
    • an authorized officer of the business has determined that at least one of the three conditions described in Question 58 is satisfied.

    The Department encourages employers and employees to collaborate to reach the best solution for maintaining the business and ensuring employee safety.

  • Will DOL begin enforcing FFCRA immediately?The Department will not bring enforcement actions against any public or private employer for violations of the Act occurring within 30 days of the enactment of the FFCRA, i.e., March 18 through April 17, 2020, provided that the employer has made reasonable, good faith efforts to comply with the Act. If the employer violates the Act willfully, fails to provide a written commitment to future compliance with the Act, or fails to remedy a violation upon notification by the Department, the Department reserves its right to exercise its enforcement authority during this period. After April 17, 2020, this limited stay of enforcement will be lifted, and the Department will fully enforce violations of the Act, as appropriate and consistent with the law.
  • Does the non-enforcement position mean businesses do not need to comply with the FFCRA from the effective date of April 1, 2020 through April 17, 2020?No, the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions are effective April 1, 2020. Private sector and public employers must comply with the provisions on the effective date even though the Department has a limited stay of enforcement until April 17, 2020. Once the Department fully enforces the Act, it will retroactively enforce violations back until the effective date of April 1, 2020, if employers have not remedied the violations.

The ARA is still analyzing how the Phase-III relieve measure will impact these provisions.  Once more information is available, we will provide an update.

NRA Letter to DOL Secretary Scalia

DOL Press Release on Paid Leave and Tax Credits

DOL FFCRA Fact Sheet

DOL FFCRA Q&A

NRA FFCRA Webinar

Closure Procedures for Restaurants Choosing to Close or Unable to Stay Open

A special thank you to our friends at 99 Restaurants, Darden Restaurant Company, and 110 Grill for furnishing their restaurant closing operational manuals

Closure procedures check-list

A special thank you to our friends at Crescent Crown and the Brewers Association for providing guidance on Draught Quality During Extended Bar/Restaurant Shutdowns

Draught Quality Recommendations During Extended Bar/Restaurant Shutdown