We must offer the restaurant industry relief at the local, state and federal levels to keep the category from crumbling. This sector has been destroyed by the Coronavirus and may never fully recover. In fact, one Charlottesville restaurateur told me he expects at least 20% of the restaurants to permanently close in CVille. He also said the short-term “take-out” or “curbside” model will not sustain itself with this many restaurants using the strategy.
The restaurant industry is the second largest employment category in Charlottesville behind the University of Virginia. The “food scene” also creates one of Charlottesville’s top tax bases: The Meals Tax.
Because of the significance of this industry, please consider this approach for managing the pandemic at the local level:
Mayor Nikuyah J Walker, Vice Mayor Sena Floyd, Councilor Heather Danforth Hill, Councilor Lloyd Snook and Councilor Michael Payne should direct City Hall to not collect the meals tax for the foreseeable future.
When the Coronavirus is eventually contained, and the restaurants are able to re-open for dine-in service, City Council should wait at least 60 days before reactivating the collection of the meals tax. This approach will help some restaurants from permanently closing.
When it is healthy, the restaurant industry creates significant tax revenue through the meals tax for schools, affordable housing, roads, infrastructure, the fire department, the police department and more. The restaurant industry also drives media attention, tourism, shopping, music events, sporting events, etc. for Charlottesville and Central Virginia.
Think about all the business partners on one restaurant’s supply chain. Think about what types of businesses host the most live music in Charlottesville and Central Virginia.
The restaurant industry is in shambles. For restaurants to recover in Charlottesville, our five city councilors must lead the charge. Suspending the meals tax for the foreseeable future is a good place to start.
Learn what Richmond is doing: https://www.richmond.com/food-drink/restaurant-news/city-of-richmond-announces-tax-amnesty-program-for-restaurants-some/article_b5226080-62a5-522f-8d26-8b3490585d20.html?fbclid=IwAR2244cd1PF8FwM1qr0XqqJ_BYk5CUD-R0_8yTdQw7KxWP6gj-znXouhr6I
Jerry Miller, CEO & Publisher
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