18 Mar Goodbye. For now.
The events of the past week have been unprecedented. Last Tuesday we had a COVID-19 planning meeting in which the immediate gravity of the crisis first set in. This Tuesday, all restaurants in our State were ordered closed. In just a week, our world has turned upside down. We assume many of you are reeling from this same whiplash.
Because of this, Lowlands Group has decided to pause all operations for the time being, effective immediately. We have explored every option of how best to move forward, but looking out at the expected length and scope of this crisis, we don’t feel that remaining open for delivery and carryout is worth the risk to our employees.
This has been a tough decision between continuing to pay our staff—who wants to remain working as long as possible—and shutting down to ensure their safety, and the safety of the community. We hope the proposed national stimulus aid package is passed quickly and targets those most in need, including hourly and tipped service industry workers. Our entire industry will need this if it is to come out of the other side resembling anything like it was a week ago.
To ease the burden on our staff, we are supporting support them by:
- Paying our hourly staff through this Sunday at 40% above minimum wage
- Continuing to pay 75% of salaries to key salaried staff
- Creating a back-to-work bonus program to reward key, laid-off hourly staff who choose to return when we reopen
- We will pay 100% of insurance costs for April including the employee portion so that families are covered
- We are distributing all of our perishable food inventory to our staff tomorrow to share with their families
It is our biggest hope that as the result of everyone’s increasing precautionary measures, that this will pass soon and we all can start returning to a somewhat “normal” pace of life. We would love nothing more than to open up our patios this spring for all of you to come out and enjoy a meal in the fresh air, surrounded by friends and neighbors, and our staff back to creating “gezellig” dining experiences once again. And rest assured, if you have a Lowlands Group gift card, it will still be valid once we reopen.
Until then, take care of yourselves, take care of your families, and take care of those in your immediate communities that may not have the support they need. And please, wash your hands!