Richmond hires Jason Alley to help restaurants during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 10:34 AM, Nov 20, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. -- Jason Alley, a noted Richmond chef and restaurateur, will now serve as the voice of Richmond restaurants navigating in a COVID-19 world.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has hired Alley a provisional policy advisor to make sure the needs of Richmond restaurants were heard in Richmond City Hall.

"He will assist in innovating and implementing safe ways to support restaurateurs and their staff during this challenging time for the restaurant industry," an email from the mayor's spokesperson explained.

Alley made a name for himself with restaurants comfort and Pasture, both of which closed before the pandemic. He has since helped open Bingo Beer Co. in Richmond and Canteen in Ashland.

"It's such a vibrant industry and it's something that I love and have been a part of for the last 20 years. And so I'm just dedicated to making sure that it stays vibrant, and the city is, you know, completely dedicated to that too. So we've just got to make sure that we do everything we can to just help out there and get some work done," Alley said.

Work that includes finding additional funding to help restaurants stay open and creating ways to keep customers not only comfortable but coming back.

"We're starting to really move in earnest with the sort of parklet program and to continue to work on easing the process for sidewalk dining and that kind of stuff," Alley said. "Winter is not going to be super robust for that. But we have to be ready for it. Any days that are nice that people can eat outside, they need to be eating outside. And as soon as the weather turns, that's going to be crucial."

Alley's job is funded by the city's CARES Act money.

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