Community FAQ

Check the list below to ensure you've covered all your bases

Frequently Asked Questions

About Us

What is Support Forest Hills Eateries (SFHE)?

SFHE is a community initiative that strives to help and support local eateries in the Forest Hills area that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Our goal is to connect local eateries with opportunities to financially sustain themselves and to provide channels for residents and communities to participate.

Who are we?

We are a group of passionate community volunteers that hope to preserve the integrity of small local eateries as they adjust to the new circumstances brought by COVID-19. We are working to increase community interaction, galvanize consumer support, and develop financial self-supporting mechanisms for small eateries.

Wait! What and Where is Forest Hills?

Forest Hills is a residential and lively neighborhood in central Queens, New York City. A popular spot of attraction in Forest Hills is Austin Street, where many restaurants, boutiques, and businesses welcome both local residents and frequent outside visitors. To learn more about the Forest Hills community read more here.

How You Can Help

How can I help or get involved with SFHE? Who can join?

Anyone is welcome to join and support SFHE! There are many ways you can get involved whether you are a local resident or an outsider. To begin, subscribe to our newsletter to learn about updates, further information, and opportunities to participate. Ways You Can Help

  • Order Food! If you live near, do consider supporting the eatery directly by ordering take-out. Due to COVID-19, dining in is no longer an option but we can continue to provide financial support and ensure safety by utilizing the take-out option. To find a list of open eateries and their ordering options, please visit the SFHE directory.
  • Leave Positive Reviews: Ordered your food and enjoyed it? You can go a step further by leaving a positive review on Yelp, Google Reviews, Grubhub, Seamless, UberEats, DoorDash, etc. This is a great way to popularize your favorite eatery and to help them gain future customers.
  • Order Food For Those in Need: Queens Together
    • There is an option of ordering food for community members in need through Queens Together. Queens Together is a community organization that allows you to:
      • Pay a local eatery to deliver food to residents who are struggling to afford meals
      • Directly donate to a specified eatery
      • Or to make a general donation to support Queens eateries.
    • Learn more about Queens Together through their website
  • Engage with SFHE on Social Media: Spread the word about SFHE on social media to boost community engagement. Join our Facebook Group & follow us on Instagram (@supportforesthills_eateries) to interact with us!
    • Shoutout your favorite local, encourage your friends to order in and or donate, and connect community members with resources to support themselves through COVID-19 (ie. Queens Together)!

How can I donate to help local eateries?

To support local eateries you can also make donations through GoFundMe's Small Business Relief Initiative. Funds raised through GoFundMe go directly to the local eateries to cover expenses and support staff members. You can also make donations to Forest Hills staff relief funds. Click here to learn more.

Can I still help if I am unable to donate or order food?

Yes, there are ways for you to participate without having to open your wallet! You can consider individual advocacy efforts to push government support to help small eateries. For more options visit our page.

Are there gift card options? How does the gift card system work?

Another way of financially supporting local eateries is by purchasing gift cards. They act as a mini no-interest loan to businesses that can use the cash inflow to promptly cover expenses. Depending on the individual eatery, the gift card system may vary. Visit this page for more information.

Ordering In

What are the ordering options available? (curbside pickup, in-store pick-up, delivery only)?

Depending on the individual eatery, ordering options may vary. To find out how a specific local eatery is operating, please visit the SFHE directory here.

Why should I try to order directly from the restaurants instead of third-party apps like UberEats, DoorDash, and Postmates?

While third-party apps are very user-friendly, this choice may negatively impact your local eatery. Up to 30% of profits can be taken by third-party apps, so to ensure that all profits go to your local eatery, try ordering from them directly. Give them a call, or visit their website to see if this option is available. To read more about the situation, you can read this article.

Are there special discounts available for customers? Rewards system, free delivery, or gift cards?

To learn more about special customer discounts, rewards, or gift cards contact your local eatery or visit their website. To find their contact information, please visit the SFHE directory here.

Customer Safety

Is it safe to order takeout during a pandemic?

The CDC confirms that currently there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Read more here. Also, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 being spread through food.

Can I get COVID-19 from a food worker handling my food?

The greatest risk when ordering food comes from the delivery process. While evidence suggests that the risk of COVID-19 spreading via packaging is low, contact with delivery personnel may pose some hazard. To avoid potential risks keep these tips in mind:

  • Opt for a cashless and contactless delivery
  • Leave your cash payment and or tip inside an envelope by your door
  • Wash your hands after handling your delivery
  • Treat packaging as already contaminated. Remove the food carefully from the packaging and throw away any external materials. Wash your hands carefully before eating.
More information here. According to the FDA, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. Read more here.

Government Regulation

How are these local eateries complying with the CDC (Center for Disease Control Guidelines)?

Local eateries are regulated by both state and federal law to comply with health standards in efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Safety measures include: washing hands often, sanitizing between each transaction and delivery, wearing masks and gloves where possible, sneezing or coughing into sleeves, remaining physically distanced in the kitchen when possible, adding floor markings to direct traffic flow, installing barriers between cashiers and customers, providing sick leave for employees, etc.

How are local eatery employees staying safe amid COVID-19?

Employers are expected to monitor and protect the health of their employees. The FDA instructs employees with COVID-19 related symptoms to report it to their supervisors and stay home. The FDA outlines that employees should: pre-screen, self-monitor, practice social distancing when possible, wear masks, and face coverings. Read more here.

Reopening Timeline

By when should we anticipate that these small eateries will reopen?

Currently, New York City is expected to reach Phase Two, which will allow outdoor dining, as early as July. New York City may reach Phase Three, with indoor dining, in August. (Last Updated 6/16/20) According to Governor’s Andrew Cumo 12 step plan to reopen, the reopening of businesses will begin in step 2. The Step 2 Phases are as outlined:

  • Phase 1: Manufacturing, construction, curbside pickup, etc.
  • Phase 2: Professional services, retail, real estate (Includes outdoor seating at restaurants)
  • Phase 3: Restaurants, food services, etc.
  • Phase 4: Arts, sports, education.
Before we progress to Phase 3, New York will have to meet specific CDC guidelines of Cuomo’s 7 health-based criteria for reopening. For example, regions must have at least 14 days of decline in total hospitalizations and deaths on a 3-day rolling average. To learn more visit here.

How will services change after the lockdown?

When eateries reopen expect to possibly see:

  • Social distancing inside restaurants with new floor plans
  • Dining options with reduced capacity
  • Deep cleaning protocols from things such as silverware, flatware, tables, seating and more
  • Removal of self-serve buffets and salad bars (changing the scene of buffet-style eateries)
Read more here.

How can I know when a restaurant opens up? What are the in-dining procedures?

SFHE is continuing to update the community on local eatery changes through our social media and newsletter. If you are interested in staying in the loop, follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter!