USA Rice President & CEO Urges Americans to Follow Health Guidance, But Support Local Restaurants & Foodservice Workers Where Possible Amidst COVID-19

Woman on sidewalk hands bag of food to person in car, signage reads: "Curbside! Honk or call upon arrival & order will be brought to your car!"
Stay safe, but support your community
Mar 20, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – The COVID-19 crisis is affecting all Americans and with the forced closure or heavy service restrictions being placed on the foodservice industry around the country, this cornerstone of our society is being hit hard.

The restaurant industry directly employs almost 16 million Americans, and the National Restaurant Association is estimating as many as 7 million jobs could be lost, with a negative impact on the economy of as much as $675 billion over the next several months as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward issued the following statement:

“The history of the United States is tied deeply to the foodservice industry – from the taverns and public houses where the American Revolution began to the modern restaurants where so many Americans had their very first job; restaurants have introduced Americans to new cuisines and customs, served as community meeting spaces, and for sure, the restaurant industry has helped so many achieve the American dream of financial independence and owning your own business.

“All of that now is threatened as we are told not to gather and to remain in our homes if possible. The lasting impact on this industry that means so much to us will be catastrophic, and we support the restaurant industry’s call for government assistance through direct and targeted financial relief, loans and insurance options for impacted small businesses, and various tax measures specific to the industry.  But as citizens and loyal customers, we too can help.

“Of course we must all remain safe, we must practice social distancing, not just for ourselves, but for the vulnerable in our community, and we must adhere to the guidelines our government and health officials are giving us.  But we should also try to help this industry that is one of the cornerstones of our society.

“I urge Americans to support their local restaurant industry by purchasing establishment gift cards for future use, ordering take out, and making use of curb side pick-up as available.  And be sure to tip your servers as generously as you are able.

“I have confidence that as a nation we will get through these difficult times, but I think we all realize the world will look very different on the other side of this challenge.  I, for one, want my favorite restaurants to be there with me, so I’m ordering take out from them this weekend.”