COVID-19 Updates for Fifth Group Team Members

Updated: June 30, 2020 at 8am – Learn about free COVID testing on Tuesday, June 30 in section II. We are currently opening for dine in service and to go at some locations. Learn about our re-opening plan in Section III.

 

We want to touch base with the entire FGR Family and let you know that we’re thinking about each and every one of you as we work through this unimaginable time in our country’s history. We know there’s high levels of anxiety and uncertainty about the unknown and not having any control of your future. We understand these feelings completely because every one of us is in the same place. All the plans that were put into place regarding how our company could deal with hard times never covered a situation like this. Even our worst case scenarios didn’t include a thriving company of 27 years going to zero sales overnight. But we are a strong company full of hard-working, high-spirited, get-it-done people and we will make it through all of this together. Please know we working very hard on a number of different of different initiatives.

Please take care of yourselves and one another as you always have and know that we are here to help you in any way that we can. Please continue to be on the lookout for text and email updates.

We will continue to update this page with new information as it becomes available and feel free to email questions to employeerelations@fifthgroup.com

Stay safe,

Robby, Steve, Kris and Stuart

 

The FAQs below are broken down into three sections 1) Employment, Payroll & Benefits 2) External Resources 3) Restaurant/BOLD Operations.

 

SECTION I. Employment, Payroll & Benefits
Q: Will I be losing my unemployment benefits, now that the governor has decided to allow restaurants to open up again?

A: No. Although the Governor has announced that restaurants “can” reopen for full service dining, Fifth Group and Bold are choosing to continue to operate in our current capacity. Therefore, we are still submitting partial unemployment claims each week for all of our team members and will continue to do so until further notice. For now, both state and federal unemployment payments are still available for eligible team members.

Q: I am on the Fifth Group health care insurance plan. How do I submit my premium payment so I can maintain my coverage?
A: Please contact payroll at payroll@fifthgroup.com for premium payment information.
Q: As a furloughed employee, should I file for unemployment?
A: No. Fifth Group is filing weekly on your behalf.

If your mailing address is correct with us, and you do not want taxes taken out of your payment, you can just sit back and wait for the pre-loaded debit card to be delivered to your home address.

If you’d like to change your address or payment info, please continue to read.

Q: What payment options for unemployment do I have? If I want direct deposit, how do I make that happen?

A: You have the option of using direct deposit or the Georgia UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard®.

Debit Card: The Debit Card will be automatically sent to you, if you do not enroll in direct deposit. If you do not receive the debit card within 15 days, you should call Georgia UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard Customer Service at 1.888.929.2460 to report the card as lost or stolen and request a replacement card.

Direct Deposit: Employees choosing direct deposit must enter their direct deposit information on the GDOL website by selecting UI Benefit Payments Method under Online Services. A personal identification number (PIN) is required. A PIN will NOT be mailed to you.

You can create a PIN following these instructions:

  1. Go to DOL.GA.GOV
  2. Select UI Benefit Payment Methods.
  3. Read the Advisory and Acknowledgement details.
  4. Select the checkbox to accept and acknowledge the terms and conditions.
  5. Skip the field labeled “If you have already set up a PIN, enter it here”.
  6. Enter a 4-digit PIN of your choice in the field labeled “If you need to set up a PIN, enter it here.”
  7. Re-enter your 4-digit PIN in the field labeled “Re-enter for verification.”
  8. Click the Continue button. (The Personal Information page will display.)
  9. Enter your Date of Birth and your Mailing Zip Code.
  10. Click the Continue button. (The Payment Information page will display.)
  11. Click the radio button for your preferred method of payment.
  12. Click the Continue button.
  13. Follow the onscreen instructions.
Q: My address must be wrong because my unemployment debit card from the DOL did not show up at my house. What am I supposed to do?

A: Here are the three things you’ll need to do:

  1. For your most recent payment on a Debit Card: If you do not receive the debit card within 15 days, you should call Georgia UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard Customer Service at 1.888.929.2460 to report the card as lost or stolen and request a replacement card.
  2. If you want future payments to go to your direct deposit: Employees choosing direct deposit must enter their direct deposit information on the GDOL website by selecting UI Benefit Payments Method under Online ServicesA personal identification number (PIN) is required. A PIN will NOT be mailed to you. If you have not already done so, you can create a PIN on this page.
  3. For all correspondence by mail, we will use the information that we have in the Paychex payroll system. Please follow the instructions presented here to login to the Paychex portal and update your address! Paychex instructions: English or Espanol.
Q: How do I check the status of my claim?
A: After FGR has uploaded the data for your first week of partial unemployment, you can check the status here: Check My UI Status
Q: Will taxes be taken out of my unemployment payment?
A: Our default upload status on this question is “NO – do not take taxes out of the payment”. If you prefer to have taxes taken out of your check, contact employee relations at employeerelations@fifthgroup.com
Q: Where do I go for additional help?
A: We want to provide as much assistance as possible, and will try to respond to individual questions as well post additional FAQ’s if circumstances warrant. Unemployment benefit decisions are made by the Georgia Department of Labor. Fifth Group does not play any role other than to provide employer data. Consequently, Fifth Group is not able to assist with wait times, Georgia Department of Labor website issues, etc.
Q: Will my time out of work count against my insurance eligibility?
A: Insurance eligibility is determined in advance of the plan year, for the plan year. Eligibility for the current plan year (April 1 – March 31) has already been determined.
Q: Will I still have $$$ paid towards my insurance by FGR while I'm not working?
A: Yes, the employee premium deducted from your gross pay is net of the FGR allowance, and this premium will remain unchanged throughout the 2020 plan year.

 

SECTION II. EXTERNAL RESOURCES
Q: I am worried about paying my rent, mortgage, utilities, cell phone, etc. What should I do?

A: In our current situation, your top priorities are keeping a roof over your head and food on your table. Once you have covered those bases, then you can triage which additional bills, like utilities, internet and credit card debt, need to be prioritized.

We will continue to share or host resources to assist with putting food on your table, i.e. our Fifth Group Farmers Market, the ACFB Mobile Pantry texts, and the #ATLFAMILYMEAL facebook group. Regarding the roof over your head and other bills, here are some additional resources and information –

As we will reiterate in most of these sections, be proactive. If you are unable to pay any of your bills on time, contact the provider as soon as possible. Don’t be an ostrich!

Renters – If you will have trouble with any of your upcoming rent payments, contact your landlord as soon as you can to discuss payment options. Evictions have been temporarily halted in Atlanta. See the details above.

Contact your landlord or property manager first, then make certain to get the details in writing.

An example approach might be:

Dear “Landlord’s Name”,

Due to the current situation, I am unable to work. Would you accept $500 for my April payment, rather than $1000? When I return to work, I will be able to pay an additional $100 per month for the next five months to cover the difference.

If your landlord refuses, you may be able to get assistance from your bank, in the form of a short-term loan. There are additional resources in the RENTERS section in the links below.

Home-Owners – Although the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for homeowners with certain types of FHA-insured mortgages, it is in your best interest to contact your mortgage holder, if you believe you will have trouble with any of your upcoming payments.

Many lenders have implemented special waivers and delayed payment options due to Covid-19. If your lender is not willing to work with you, another option is contacting your bank. Many banks have hardship loans and other instruments available due to Covid-19. Some of those links are listed below in the MORTGAGE section, along with additional options here in Georgia.

Everyone – Remember, before you simply stop paying your bills, contact the vendor. Many of the listed companies below have relief programs in place, inquire about these. We have supplied links to follow for assistance with utilities, cell service, debt relief and eviction notices, all in the sections below.

EXTERNAL LINKS RENTER ASSISTANCE:

EXTERNAL LINKS MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE:

Q: How do I get free meals delivered via ATLFAMILYMEAL?
A: ATLFAMILYMEAL, Inc. is a Georgia nonprofit, and is actively building a leadership team and raising funds to provide food, jobs, and resources for the hospitality community during this trying time. ATLFAMILYMEAL is currently providing 4 free meals a week for people in the hospitality industry currently out of work industry. Meals are being delivered on Wednesday and Friday every week. The program is growing and their goal is to expand to more days. All that is required to receive meals is to fill out this form: https://app.atlfamilymeal.org/recipient_sign_up
Q: Will The Giving Kitchen help me if I'm out of work? What if I'm sick?

A: The Giving Kitchen will continue to support food service workers with compassion and care by providing financial assistance to those in crisis due to an unexpected illness, injury, death of an immediate family member or housing disaster in Georgia. Food service workers in Georgia who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and/or those who are under doctor’s orders for a mandatory quarantine should ask for help.

https://thegivingkitchen.org/help

Food service workers experiencing hardship who do not meet these criteria may still be eligible for resource referrals through the Giving Kitchen’s Stability Network.

https://thegivingkitchen.org/what-we-do/stability-network

Follow this link for more information on the response from the Giving Kitchen:  https://thegivingkitchen.org/covid19

In addition, the Federal government is working on several programs that may apply, and we will post more details as they become available.

Q: Are there any other assistance programs I should know about?

A: In addition to the Giving Kitchen resources, we are sharing a newly created Facebook community for the local restaurant industry intended to be a place to connect and share resources. You can join an Atlanta restaurant industry Facebook group here.

In the group, several people have shared organizations that are offering assistance programs or raising money for industry workers:

Restaurant Workers Community Foundation

Bar Methods

USBG National Charity Foundation – bartender assistance program

Children of Restaurant Employees

Another Round Another Rally

Too Small to Fail Foundation

In addition, the Federal government is working on several programs that may apply, and we will post more details as they become available.

 

III. RESTAURANT/BOLD OPERATIONS
Q: Where does Fifth Group stand on the current unrest in Atlanta?
A: Statement from June 8: Fifth Group Restaurants stands in solidarity with all our team members, guests and the Atlanta hospitality community against injustice and inequality. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been inspired by the peaceful protests all over our city, and we’re listening to the conversations regarding the Black experience in America and in the restaurant industry with renewed focus. While respect and honoring diversity have always been part of our core values, more needs to be done to root out racial injustice in our industry and the world.

We cannot ignore the lessons of this historic moment if we want our diverse teams of hospitality professionals to thrive today and in the future. As we work to reopen our restaurants in the weeks ahead, we welcome these conversations so we can move forward into a brighter future with a vibrant, inclusive and diverse #FGRfamily.

Thank you for your continued support. 

Q: Are any of our restaurants open?
A: Yes, we are offering dine in service and to go at some locations. All other locations have temporary suspended operations.
Q: Will modified hours continue when we re-open?
A: Probably, though that decision will be made closer to the time we plan to re-open.