To Our Valued Customers
On March 13th, 2020 the United States declared a National Emergency in response to the Coronavirus global pandemic, (COVID-19). As this disease continues to increase exponentially around the globe with no present cure or vaccine, we must all take action in an attempt to mitigate the spread in the United States.
Flattening the curve is a measure being used by other countries overwhelmed by Coronavirus, to stretch out the number of people impacted over a longer period of time so as NOT to completely overwhelm our health care system; and social distancing is the ONLY way to effectively flatten the curve.
The hospitality industry relies on a network of employees that continually work in close proximity and further engage and interact with customers in the same fashion. The Food and Beverage Industry sells consumables and is built on social engagement with the coming together and close interaction of people, both customers, and employees. Bars and clubs, in particular, are designed to create shared experiences for crowds of people to gather at once, in close proximity and for sustained amounts of time.
Our first responsibility is to the health and well-being of our employees and our community overall, outweighing any financial benefit to continue to operate at this time. Due to the shortage in sanitizing products, we are unable to get the supplies necessary to maintain a safe and sanitized environment for our staff and customers; and as cases in the United States rise, we feel it is imperative to take the initiative to do our part in the effort to flatten and stabilize the current, rapidly increasing number of people contracting COVID-19.
Hogs & Heifers Saloon will be temporarily closing its doors at the end of our night shift today Sunday, March 15, 2020, for several weeks. Our sincere hope is that if our country can become quiet for two to three weeks, we may actually be able to stem the spread and get back to the lives we love to live and the people we love to be with.
Hogs & Heifers will be providing immediate financial support to our 48 employees with additional accommodation made for our 22 tipped employees. We are working on an assessment of our present financials to determine our ability to provide further possible financial assistance to our employees for an extended period of time. Additionally, Hogs & Heifers will be absorbing the full cost of health insurance of all of our covered employees through April 30th. On March 3rd, we held an emergency staff meeting to prepare our staff for the possibility of closure and to assure them that we would remain a source of assistance, to the best of our ability and continue to provide them with detailed information as to the public services and emergency funds that will be made available to them after the Senate passes the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
We have read the FFCRA in its entirety and are prepared to quickly provide more specific information and direction to all of our employees once it is passed and have informed them that it includes, but is not limited to emergency unemployment, medical costs incurred due to Coronavirus, Veterans Affairs, financial and food assistance on an individual and family level, and WIC.
We are as hopeful as anyone that such closure of our business will only be for a period of 2 to 3 weeks, but we feel that it is important for us to be prepared, and to prepare our employees for the possibility of a longer closure and ensure that they have clear information to navigate the Government resources that will be available to them and to continue to keep them updated as to additional areas of support as it becomes available.
Our office and administrative team will remain operational in order to secure and maintain the establishment and remain a source of information and support to our 48 employees. In the coming days, we will inventory our supply of basic essentials such as toilet paper, paper towels, bottled water, and disposable products. We will determine what we need to maintain our facilities with limited staff and distribute the majority of the remainder to our employees.
We are looking forward to the day in the near future that we can reopen our doors, but in the meantime, we encourage everyone to consider their own responsibility and our combined one as a Nation, in recognizing the growing loss of life and impact on our world, which Covid-19 has wrought. Because of its heightened degree of transmission and rapid spread we are guaranteed the further loss of life for a large portion of our population which includes anyone’s relative, friend, neighbor, co-worker and even ourselves. My own mother is 77 and lives in an apartment building with 2 dogs that she walks 3 times daily, in New York City where the outbreak is spreading quickly and a lock-down is likely. I am grateful that she is presently well, but I worry daily and hope only for her safety.
The life-threatening problem we face as a Nation is one of limited health services and equipment necessary to manage a pandemic of this magnitude, let alone continue to service our population in response to the normal and often high volume of regular medical practices and daily non-pandemic related medical emergencies, illness, surgeries and so on. With the annual storm season upon us, the lower southern states will likely experience a number of weather-related emergencies which will only further tax our Nation’s emergency response systems, medical facilities, resources, and funds.
Political blame is an argument best saved for another day.
We cannot rely on our Government to solely manage this event and our Healthcare System to be able to address the needs that will soon be required, without our responsible participation in the effort to stop the rapid spread.
These circumstances are upon us TODAY and we have a responsibility to respond HUMANELY with compassion, decency, and respect for life, whether it be across the globe, within our own Nation, right here in our City, in our smaller communities, or in our own homes.
May you all be well. We look forward to reopening and welcoming back our team in its entirety and our customers, all in good health and ready to kick off the re-opening with a Bang as only Hogs & Heifers can.
Sincerely, Michelle Dell
March 15, 2020