Yesterday, the White House issued new guidelines for COVID-19, which includes advice to “avoid eating or drinking in bars, restaurants, and food courts.” Charleston restaurants are adjusting to this by closing or offering takeout and curbside pick-up options.
Neighborhood Dining Group (Husk, Minero, McCrady’s, and Delany Oyster House) sent an email today to clarify their properties will close, but they are committed to compensate staff through the end of March.
Butcher & Bee is still open, but owner Michael Shemtov is using social media to spread awareness about the upcoming tax collection for restaurants. He wants officials to suspend the collection of this fee until restaurants are able to operate normally.
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(a copy of our letter written to our Representative) Representative Gaillard: I own eight restaurants in Charleston including several in your district, and live in your district as well. Our restaurants employ over 200 people and support dozens of small businesses in our community. Suffice it to say, we are faced with unprecedented challenges as our role in the fabric of the community - which typically is centered around nourishing and bringing people together - has gone from necessary to potentially dangerous in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am active in the Food & Beverage community in Charleston and know that the hardest part for all of us right now is our ability to keep our staff employed and paid. Restaurants and bars operate on the thinnest of margins, and the interruption to cash flow that has already happened puts a massive strain on our ability to pay our bills and our staff. On Friday, March 20, Sales Taxes for the state are due, as are Liquor by the Drink and local hospitality taxes, based on February’s sales. I am asking the State Legislature and the Governor to immediately suspend all tax collection for all hospitality related businesses - including serve them who pay Wholesale Wine taxes. Thanks to the work of our leaders and a healthy economy coming into this crisis, we have a surplus in South Carolina, and now is the time to use that to save thousands of jobs in the Lowcountry and throughout the state. The restaurant industry not only employs thousands of people, but drives visitation to our city and state that supports thousands more jobs. We in the restaurant community need to keep this cash to pay our staff and prevent our businesses from shuttering. We cannot wait on the Federal Government or SBA to act to help, we need our state leaders to take immediate action. Thank you for your attention and consideration, Michael Shemtov Proprietor (link in bio to call your Representative and help the restaurants and hospitality folks you love) #relaxthetax
Other restaurants around Charleston have adjusted to offer easy take-out options or curbside delivery. Many establishments are offering discounts to attract customers — Southern spot Glass Onion even offers half-priced bottles of wine with pick-up orders. Check out the list of offerings below.