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A letter to our staff in the age COVID19



Wrigleyville: 773-525-4580

Wicker Park: 773-525-4580

Revival Foodhall: 773-525-4580

Lincoln Square: 773-525-4580

March 16th, 2020

On Thursday, I warned everyone about the implications of COVID-19 and how it could affect our ability to function. This afternoon, this was confirmed in the form of a mandate from Governor Pritzker who ordered all restaurants and bars to close in-store service effective at the end of the night Monday 3/16/20 through the end of the month.

These sweeping changes, aggressive and devastating though they are to our very existence, do provide a chance for us to dramatically reduce the virus’ ability to overwhelm our medical infrastructure and ultimately will help stem much more substantial bleeding down the road. If you haven’t already, there are a variety of forecasting models to play with to show how severity of action and number of infections and deaths are correlated. There’s a great chart in an article by the NYTimes called “How Much Worse the Coronavirus Could Get, in Charts,” google it.

While this is not an easy call, it is the right call. And while it may be easy to dread what the future brings, we must not fear what has not yet come to pass. We must believe in what we can accomplish when we work together.

A historian, Frank Snowden (no relation to Edward), said once that pandemics hold up a mirror to society and force us to ask basic questions: What is our responsibility to one another?

The way I see it, we have two options. One is to crawl into a hole of fear, dystopia, and despair and wallow there. The other is to find a way to bring people together, find the silver lining, and make lemonade out of what is rapidly turning into shards of glass. 

This is no small challenge, but I like to rise to an occasion and I appreciate anyone who wants to do the same. 

There is a reality though. With no money flowing in from dine-in sales, we will have to dramatically scale back our FOH operations. I will not sugar coat this, in many cases, this means hours will be lost, especially from FOH staff. Currently, this is a two week plan, but we are preparing for it to last longer and truthfully no one knows. 

We are here for you and will help you access the federal funding that undoubtedly will be made available. This is an extremely fast moving situation, one in which the pace of the change is far beyond what legislation can keep up with. That means that there will likely be future bills, additional resources, and other organizations that come forward to help out. We are on top of this and I have activated every one of my connections from local government, brand strategists, and community organizers to find a way forward in these challenging times.

As I mentioned last week in my message to the team (which now feels like a lifetime ago), we need to find ways to lead. Now this means we must lead the business into a new phase to save and strengthen as many jobs as we possibly can. If you have a bike or a car or an extra transportation vehicle that someone can borrow, please let your mentor know. The roots team is already hard at work at a variety of very promising solutions but if you have any additional ideas about how we can innovate our way out of this problem, please, I implore you to share. Titles and positions melt away in times like these. Let the cream settle at the top. Additionally, until we have restored hours and jobs to those lost, I will not pay my own salary. 

Starting tomorrow, every day at noon, I will hold a briefing. All are welcome to attend and of course it will be held digitally via google hangouts. Download the “Meet” app by google onto your phone. There we shall discuss our steps and our future. I am also creating a new slack channel for updates.  No one is required to attend but if you’re interested in being a part of the solution, I more welcome your involvement. 

Revised schedules will go out shortly. If your name is not on there or your hours are significantly cut, please join us tomorrow. If you have concerns, please my phone, email, slack are all open to all of you. Thank you and take care of one another. We are taking this day by day but will not stop until we have solutions that work for all.

Please, join me.

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