Volume 23 | June 9, 2021
RRF Replenishment Act
 
NCRLA and our partners at the National Restaurant Association have been working with the sponsors of the RESTAURANTS Act on legislation that would replenish the RRF program. Tomorrow, the sponsors will introduce the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act, a bill to provide $60B in new money for the RRF program. Since the original funding was about $50B short of addressing the needs of all applicants, we know that continued relief grants are critical for an industry that remains incredibly vulnerable.

NCRLA will be reaching out to members as we participate in the grassroots campaign to secure support from our GOP Senators as well as our House members. Look for more news in View from Jones Street this Friday.

Meanwhile, if you received a grant from the first round of RRF, NCRLA would love to hear from you. Please let us know.

In related news, a recent court decision barred the SBA from distributing RRF funds to “priority groups” under the text of the RESTAURANTS Act, but the decision is moot because it came after the 21-day priority period. SBA is now processing applications in the order they were filed, but the shortcoming demonstrates the tremendous need for additional funding to ensure that all suffering restaurants can get relief.
House and Senate Agree on
State Budget

The N.C. House and N.C. Senate have agreed on how much they want state government to spend: $25.72 billion for 2021-22 and $26.7 billion for 2022-23, which puts the General Assembly on track to send a budget to Gov. Roy Cooper by the end of July.

The budget agreement does not include details on taxes, but the chambers did agree on wanting tax reductions. It dedicates at least $4.2 billion in new capital spending funded through the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund. They said the $25.7 billion in spending doesn’t include debt service payments. Those will come from the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund, they said.

The governor’s office indicated Tuesday this first round falls far short of what our state needs. NCRLA will continue to advocate for a number of items in the budget and is working for them to be included in every budget developed. 
Public Comment Period Now Open for 2017 FDA Food Code Adoption

Enforcement of the 2017 Food Code is expected to begin in October 2021. This is after COVID-19 derailed the adoption process by the NC Department of Health and Human Services State Food and Lodging Program.

Prior to enforcement in October, the required public comment period is now open and will close on August 2, 2021. Review all the changes here, and find a link to submit comments. As always, if you have questions or wish to submit your comments through NCRLA, please contact Alyssa Barkley.

NCRLA, along with the State Food and Lodging Program, hosted a training session for one of our members on "What to Expect with North Carolina's Adoption of the 2017 FDA Food Code." The PowerPoint presentation, which outlines the changes in detail, is available on our website and can be downloaded here.

As we get closer to the enforcement date, NCRLA is planning to host live webinars with the State Food and Lodging Program. Stay tuned for details on joining the conversation and also accessing webinar recordings.
NC Hospitality Job Board
 
NCRLA's first-ever NC Hospitality Job Board continues to grow as a free site for any employer in this sector to list open positions. Over 285 jobs are now posted.

We have reached out to the recipients of the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund to let them know about the job board and are continuing to engage with this audience. In addition, we will be driving traffic to the site through a new marketing campaign, so stay tuned for more news.
 
If you haven't already signed up for a free account to post your job openings, these directions will guide you through the process. Join us in this employment effort and list your jobs today! For questions, contact Shannon McGuire. 
NCRLA Member Shares Labor Challenges & Success Using
On-Demand Hiring App

William Dissen, NCRLA member and executive chef/owner of Haymaker in Charlotte, says an on-demand hiring app has been a great recruitment tool and a “win-win” for both the employer and the potential employee. The app allows him to find help at the last minute when the restaurant is short-staffed. It also allows potential new hires to try the restaurant work with no strings attached before making a decision to apply for a job. See his interview on Fox Business.
Point Deductions for ServSafe Certification Resume on July 1 
With the support of NCRLA, during the COVID-19 pandemic the NC Division of Public Health changed their assessment of ServSafe certification during inspections. Now that capacity limits and social distancing mandates have been lifted, as the ServSafe certification requirement is assessed, point deductions for expired certification will resume beginning July 1, 2021.
 
Be sure to have all certifications current for you and your staff. Find ServSafe training classes and exam proctoring here. If you have any questions about this or other matters related to the food code or health inspections, please contact Alyssa Barkley.
Join Us for Excellence In Education
Virtual Scholarship Awards

You are invited to join our Excellence in Education Virtual Scholarship Awards Ceremony via Zoom on Wednesday, June 23, from 10 to 11 a.m., where we will have the pleasure of honoring hardworking students with scholarships to further their studies in the hospitality industry.

As we battle the worker shortage in our industry, it is vital we keep the pipeline wide open for our future workers and encourage their interest in the hospitality industry. By investing in these students, we strengthen our future workforce. Our scholarships are made possible by our wonderful donors: Pepsi, Johnson & Wales Charlotte Campus, Golden Corral, Davidson & Jones, Angus Barn, and the friends and family of Jimmy Alfano. We cannot thank them enough for their support of our industry and the education of these students. 

Register using the link below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
NCRLA Chef Showdown Triad Regionals: “March Madness of Chefs”

Seven chefs competed Monday in the third of four preliminary rounds, all vying for a spot at the NCRLA Chef Showdown presented by Got to be NC Agriculture.
 
Watch the exciting local coverage of the Winston-Salem preliminaries, in which the competition was compared to March Madness.

The following chef competitors prepared and presented dishes to a panel of three esteemed judges, and were scored on presentation, taste, and use of North Carolina ingredients:

Special thanks to our host venue Bobby Boy Bake Shop and to our judges:

 
Who will earn the title of NCRLA Chef of the Year and NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year? Check out all of the talented competitors here, and save the date for the finale on August 9 at Angus Barn’s Bay 7 in Durham. Tickets go on sale June 21.
The End of Radios: Transforming Hotel Communication & Worker Safety with the Power of the Cloud

The era of expensive, bulky, and limited capability radios is over. Our partner Relay is establishing a benchmark for the next technological revolution that focuses on innovative, durable, and highly adaptive voice-first technology for deskless workers. Even better? Brand-compliant worker protection is included for free.

To learn more, join Relay for a webinar on Wednesday, June 16, at 2 p.m. Register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the meeting.
NATIONAL UPDATES
Updates from SBA & Treasury Programs

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL): Eligible small businesses and independent contractors can still apply for COVID-19 EIDL. The advance funds have been fully allocated and are unavailable at this time. Learn more here.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG): SBA is currently accepting applications for SVOG. See if your business is eligible for this grant.

Employee Retention Credit (ERC): The American Rescue Plan extended the availability of the credit for small businesses through December 2021 and allows businesses to offset current payroll tax liabilities by up to $7,000 per employee per quarter, which is a $2,000 increase from 2020. Read more about the 2021 changes

Paid Leave Credit: The American Rescue Plan also extended this credit through September 2021 for small and midsized businesses that offer paid leave to employees who may take leave due to illness, quarantine, or caregiving. Businesses can take tax credits equal to wages of up to $5,000. Learn more here.
Tillis Works to Stop ADA Drive-by Lawsuits

To help stem the tide of ADA lawsuits, Sen. Tillis, Sen. Grassley, and Sen. Cornyn have requested that the Judicial Conference amend the federal rules of civil procedure to create a pleading standard for Title III ADA cases. This would essentially require plaintiffs to state specific ADA infractions/violations in their pleadings so that employers can answer and respond accordingly. The Senators sent this letter to the Judicial Conference this week.

Currently, under the ADA law, enacted in 1990, businesses that don’t comply with certain regulations can be sued without warning for discrimination. A drive-by lawsuit is filed by an attorney on behalf of a person who wasn’t necessarily a customer of a store or restaurant but drove by and noticed a violation, like a ramp not constructed at the proper slope.
AHLA Supports Vaccination Month of Action
 
Our national partner, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) supports the Vaccination Month of Action from June 4 to July 4, as we all work to achieve the national goal of 70% of adults having at least one vaccine dose by Independence Day. With more people vaccinated, more Americans are planning to travel at levels our industry hasn’t seen since before the pandemic over a year ago. A new “We Can Do This!” On-Site Vaccination Clinic Toolkit helps the business community in partnering with local vaccine providers to make vaccinations more convenient and accessible. Learn more at AHLA’s Safe Stay Vaccination Center.
Save Hotel Jobs Act Calls for Critical Support Now

Our national partner, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has been working for months on the Save Hotel Jobs Act, which provides a lifeline to hotel workers and hoteliers, providing critical assistance to bring back workers and to help bridge the gap until travel returns.
While leisure travel is resuming, business travelthe largest source of hotel revenueis down 85% and is not expected to return soon. Full recovery is not expected until 2024. The Save Hotel Jobs Act will provide critical support right now. Key provisions include:

  • Supporting Hotel Workers: Direct payroll grants, in an amount up to three months’ worth of pre-pandemic payroll cost, to be utilized for payroll and benefits expenses for workers. The legislation would require grantees to give laid-off workers recall rights to ensure those who lost their jobs are able to return to work.
  • Allowing Worker-Friendly Tax Credits: Provides a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Tax Credit to promote worker safety measures, which would allow for a payroll tax credit for 50% of costs associated with the purchase of PPE, technology designed to reduce the impact of the pandemic, increased testing for employees, and enhanced cleaning protocols that do not negatively impact the level of work for housekeeping staff. 

Other hard-hit industries have received direct aid, but hotels are suffering just as badly if not worse than any other sector of the economy. To gain support for this bill so it has a chance of becoming law we need your help TODAY.
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The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association serves to advance and protect
the interests of more than 20,000 businesses that employ 11 percent of the state’s workforce
 and generate more than $27.3 billion in sales annually.
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