By President and CEO, Anthony Anton

We are not standing here today facing additional restrictions because of a lack of hard work.

We’ve got tremendous compliance from many hospitality businesses out there. We see you working hard to comply.

Our team at the Washington Hospitality Association has worked around the clock on your behalf throughout the past weeks to ensure all indoor dining doesn’t get shut down completely as we watched coronavirus cases continue to increase.

Today brings really hard news with the closing of entertainment centers until Phase 4 and the indoor dining closure of four license types: tavern, winery, distillery and brewery. It likely means the end of some of our favorite places in Washington. Rest assured, the association will do everything it can to help these members transition their licenses and/or explore solutions to stay open. Today’s additional restrictions will have long-lasting impacts for many of our members. We’re frustrated that so much of our economy is at risk and disappointed in the announcement.

This is such a crazy time. A very small group of people decide the fate of our industry. If they don’t trust us – we won’t reopen. We will stay frozen in these phases. More restrictions will be handed down.

We need compliance, mask wearing and for these cases to drop. Demonstrate strong compliance so we can be trusted to fully implement the new phases. We need the spike in cases to go down so solutions we have proposed for alternatives to six-foot distancing between tables and six guests per table will be considered.

Be diligent about screening employees when they come in for work and managers must send ill workers home immediately. An employee who feels safe working in your restaurant leads to guests who feel safe in your restaurant. Don’t overlook the importance of employee compliance and their sense of security.

Take compliance up a notch with your guests. Do not let guests mingle and walk around – they can infect many people. Ensure they are wearing a mask when walking to the restroom.

If we follow the restrictions and are more adamant about enforcing them we could positively impact the case numbers.

We need our government’s trust that we can get this right. We need to keep our guests and employees safe. Please mask up and comply so we can move forward.

Today’s announcement is tough – there’s no way around it. But never lose faith that hospitality will prevail in the end. We must strive to have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of our reality and also fiercely believe that we’re going to make it. The association will remain by your side on this journey to help you do so.