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The coronavirus pandemic has drastically altered daily life across the country, with many restaurants, bars and other food service establishments seriously suffering due to temporary government closures and self-isolation efforts from the public.
Earlier this week, the National Restaurant Association reported that the industry could lose nearly half of its 15.6 million workers and a quarter of annual sales during the COVID-19 crisis. The organization, which advocates for over 500,000 restaurants in the U.S., has asked the White House and congressional leaders for at least $455 billion in aid to help keep businesses afloat during this difficult time
For now, foodies can help turn the tables by thinking globally and acting locally to support favorite restaurants in these ways.
Order takeout or delivery
Many establishments have majorly modified their business practices in response to COVID-19, closing dining rooms altogether and limiting orders to drive-thru, takeout or delivery, among other health and safety protocols.
As the United States Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said there is no evidence to suggest the virus can be spread through food or food packaging, help your favorite local haunt survive the pandemic by ordering take out or delivery for your household. Don’t forget to leave a generous tip, too.
As the virus is mostly spread by person-to-person contact, aim to limit potential exposure by opting for no-contact delivery. To be safe, it is recommended to discard any packaging the takeout order comes in, and transfer it into another dish.
Buy gift cards
Even if you’re still cooking through your pandemic food supply, buy a gift card for your favorite eatery. Not only is this one of the easiest ways to support the restaurant, but it also helps practice social distancing.
Now is also a great time to finally splurge on extra merchandise, like a T-shirt or cookbook from your go-to local spot.
Sign a petition
In a rallying cry for the industry, many celebrity chefs are supporting a Change.org petition calling for government leaders to take "swift action" to help food-serving establishments everywhere survive these trying times. The "Save America's Restaurants" appeal had received more than 174,000 signatures as of Friday morning.
Acknowledging that needs greatly vary, the plea calls for emergency employment benefits to be granted to workers laid off or otherwise affected by the pandemic.
The petition also called for waiving payroll tax, endorsing rent and loan abatement for employees, urging coordination with state liquor officials to allow restaurants offering delivery and take-out to also sell or deliver alcohol by the bottle, and waiving zoning restrictions to allow eateries to use their space for alternative purposes to continue paying staff and supporting purveyors.
Directly donate to funds
During the pandemic, nonprofits and grassroots groups are also coordinating direct financial contributions to benefit bars and restaurants.
According to Eater, groups like Dining Bond Initiative, Southern Smoke Foundation and Give Local are coordinating direct financial assistance for restaurants, while the United States Bartenders Guild is working to help bartenders affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Fox News’ Alexandra Deabler contributed to this report.