Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck told CNBC that President Donald Trump needs to quickly step up and harness the explosive spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States or else as many as a quarter of the small restaurants in the country will close for good.
“Probably 25% of the small restaurants are never going to open again,” Puck said. “They’re going to stay closed, because they ran out of money and the landlords are evicting them and so forth. It’s a really rough time.”
Puck owns restaurants around the world, including the renowned Spago in Beverly Hills and Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air. In April, he was selected to be a member of one of Trump’s Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups. He said he was “really nervous” when the pandemic reached American soil because there was no federal plan in place to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect the economy.
“In the U.S. every state really has different laws and different openings and closings,” he said. States, counties, and cities were left to create their own mandates, which has earned the U.S. the No.1 spot in the number of COVID-19 cases compared to any other country in the world. “I really believe that the president should take control, get in a meeting with all the governors and say if we are not doing this together, we might never get over it.”
Many restaurants have found relief in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act and are waiting to see what another stimulus package might provide. But so many small- and mid-sized restaurants are still suffering and they just can’t seem to catch a break. Many have also filed business interruption claims with their insurance companies for help with operating expenses when they had to close due to state-mandated orders to stop the spread of COVID-19. But insurers are flatly rejecting those claims.
Part of a business owner’s policy, business interruption insurance provides coverage of operating expenses in the event a business must temporarily close due to a disaster, like a tornado or a fire. Insurance companies claim that because the virus caused no physical damage to the restaurants, their claims aren’t covered.
But restaurants and other businesses suffering due to COVID-19 closures are not giving up without a fight. Beasley Allen is actively pursuing cases with clients whose insurance companies denied their business interruption claims. Dee Miles, Head of our Consumer Fraud Section, Rachel Boyd and Paul Evans are spearheading this litigation for our firm. They would like to talk to you about any potential claims. Contact us for a free consultation regarding your business interruption insurance claims.