New guidance on opening Post canteens
There have been many questions and possibly some confusion about the previously released correspondence concerning the re-opening of the bars and restaurants located in many of our posts. It is the opinion of the Department that our posts operate in multiple facets; posts are social clubs, rental halls, bars, and restaurants. When the Governor closed bars and restaurants, posts that run bars and restaurants within the posts were included in this closure.
Since the release of the letter about reopening the bars and restaurants in our posts, some posts have contacted their local governments and have been told we are not included in
bars/restaurants, as they are considered social clubs.
The Department sought advice from a non-practicing retired attorney who is an AMVET, and he agreed that our posts operate as multiple businesses; some operate as one business (social club), some operate as two businesses (social club and bar) and others operate as three businesses or more (social club, bar and restaurant, etc.).
In addition to seeking counsel from a retired attorney, we have spoken to the Governor’s and the Attorney General’s offices concerning reopening; the Department told the Governor’s office that posts were closed as a bar/restaurant and would be re-opening when they do, and the Governor’s office did not object.
Guidance on opening Post canteens
I hope this letter finds everyone healthy and safe during this COVID19 Pandemic. I know that the closing of posts these past couple of months has been financially trying for the posts and probably even more so for their employees.
The order by the Governor to close the posts was done to help stop
the spread of this disease that has killed over 77,000 people in the United States; due to the efforts outlined and mandated by the Governor, the fatality number in Ohio is just over 1,300.
As many already know, the Governor announced Thursday that beginning May 15th restaurants and bars with open air service may begin serving customers again while continuing to adhere to the state regulations. Dine-in service may begin on May 21st with new state regulations that must also be adhered to. Copies of those regulations are attached to this release.
What does this mean for AMVETS? It is our interpretation that posts with outdoor service areas would be allowed to reopen on Friday, May 15, 2020 only by operating under the new state regulations (copy attached), and then on Thursday, May 21, 2020 all canteen posts can open and begin operating
under the new state regulations. (copy attached). One main rule that must be followed is the open area congregate rule: The open congregate areas in restaurants and bars that are not necessary for the preparation and service of food or beverages (billiards, card playing, pinball games, video games, arcade games, dancing, entertainment, etc.) shall remain closed.
Annual State Convention Cancelled due to COVID-19
I hope everyone is staying healthy during this trying time and that this letter finds you well. Our Department is adjusting to life in this unique time, and we are working hard to get through this intact and with our membership and posts as strong as ever.
It is with much regret that I am writing to inform our members that our State Executive Committee (SEC) has come to the difficult decision to cancel our June convention.
The SEC met via teleconference over the weekend to discuss the convention and after deliberation and discussion, we felt it was in the best interest of our membership to cancel the 2020 convention to avoid putting any members at risk as we did not see a way to hold the convention and follow social distancing guidelines and protocols.
The SEC voted to have all department officers stay in place through our convention in June 2021, and to have all District and Post officers remain in place as well. With that said, if any officer cannot or will not stay on in their current role and resigns, then the CB&L will be followed to fill that vacant office.
We have scheduled a finance committee meeting for May 16th so that we can prepare the 2020-2021 budget. At this time, the only physical attendees to that meeting will be members of the finance committee, however I will work with our Department staff to see if there is a way to stream this meeting so that any member who wishes to see the meeting has the opportunity to do so.
Meetings can be held electronically during post closures
I hope everyone is staying healthy during this trying time and that this letter finds you well. I want to emphasize that we must stay vigilant in our precautions to protect our members and families and hope that each post is being proactive in that regard. I also want to encourage all our AMVETS family to stay tuned to the Department website and Facebook pages, as a lot of information and resources are being put out to help posts get through this crisis.
Some questions have been coming in regarding upcoming elections and post meetings; National Commander Jan Brown has stated that National will not look negatively on any post or department that is delayed with their elections due to COVID-19. With that being said, I would like to offer the following guidance: Our Department CB&L allows for electronic meetings to conduct business; therefore, it is encouraged that posts hold their April meetings electronically for 1st round nominations. Our Department staff is well versed at setting up these types of conference calls and can help posts, if necessary, to get this accomplished. In addition, I would encourage posts that are moving their May meetings to the end of the month, to put out a 30-day notice to members.
All posts must close until otherwise notified starting on March 15
In order to comply with Governor DeWine’s order that all bars and restaurants be closed for social gathering purposes the AMVETS Department of Ohio is issuing the following Directives.
Effective March 15, 2020 at 2100 hours (9:00 p.m.) all posts with canteens and kitchens should cease operations completely until further notice. For posts with kitchens and a food service license they can continue to run their kitchens for call ahead carry out orders only. No alcohol should be sold unless your post has a carryout license and the alcohol should not be consumed on the post premises.