The Slice gives you all the news you can use. Each issue will include any COVID-19 updates, reopening information, legislative news, and other relevant items for our readers. Please let us know if you'd like to see anything in particular or have other feedback - just email marketing@vrlta.org.
What's the Latest?
AHLA Releases 2021 State of the Hotel Industry Report

The report examines the high-level economics of the hotel industry’s recovery, the specific impact on and eventual return of business travel, and consumer travel sentiments. AHLA will be working closely with the new Biden Administration and new Congress on policies that will bring back travel, and with it jobs and economic development. 
Key findings in the report include: 
  • Half of U.S. hotel rooms projected to remain empty
  • Leisure and hospitality sector ended 2019 down 4 million jobs 
  • Hotels to add 200,000 direct jobs, but remain 500,000 below 2019 levels
  • Business travel expected down 85% through April
  • 56% of consumers expect to travel for leisure 
  • Nearly half of consumers see vaccine distribution as key to travel 

NRA Releases 2021 Restaurant Trends Report

From surveys of 6,000 restaurant operators and 1,000 consumers, the NRA identified how restaurateurs demonstrated resiliency, innovation and commitment and the food and menu trends likely to stick around. 2020 tested the limits of operator innovation, accelerated trends, and confirmed customers miss their favorite restaurant experiences. In this report, the NRA shares culinary and restaurant trends through 2021.
Dominion Energy and Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation Announce New Program to Help with Utility Costs

Dominion Energy is partnering with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation to temporarily expand its EnergyShare program to assist those small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dominion Energy Virginia is pledging $500,000 to help provide energy bill relief for small businesses, nonprofits, and houses of worship in its Virginia service territory. Qualified businesses may be eligible for one-time assistance with their Dominion Energy electric bill up to $1,000. 
Weekly Government Affairs Call Every FRIDAY at 2 p.m.
Each Friday at 2 p.m., VRLTA will be hosting our weekly Government Affairs calls. Join us to hear more about VRLTA's legislative priorities, what's happening during the session, and how the Association is supporting or opposing hospitality- and tourism-related legislation.
VDH Launches Vaccine Rollout Alert Website
VDH has launched a new website where individuals can get more information and sign up for alerts based on their occupation, age, medical history, etc. VRLTA is encouraging ALL INDIVIDUALS to sign up now to get updates and help VDH plan for vaccination efforts.

By signing up, you can see what group you fall into, based on your age, occupation, health concerns, etc., and you will be notified when it is your turn to receive a vaccination.

The state has released additional detailed guidance on who falls into which phase, which can be found here:
  • 1a includes healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities
  • 1b includes frontline essential workers, persons aged 75 years+, and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant labor camps. Some food and agriculture workers are included in this group.
  • 1c includes other essential workers, people aged 65 - 74 years, and people aged 16 - 64 years with a high-risk medical condition or disability that increases their risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Food service workers are included in this group. 
  • More details on essential workers can be found here.

VRLTA is continuing to communicate with the VDH to plan for a coordinated rollout to food service workers and advocate for other workers in the hospitality and tourism sectors.
PPP Round 2 Open Now!
Last week, the Small Business Administration began accepting applications for a new round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The program opened for businesses seeking their first PPP loan on January 11 (find an overview here and the application here), and for businesses seeking a second PPP loan on January 13 (find an overview here and the application here). Both application windows are open until March 31, 2021, but funding may run out before then.

Generally, eligibility and documentation are similar to the original program, with two major changes:
  • Second draw PPP loans are available to businesses that can demonstrate a 25% loss in revenue compared to last year. This may be calculated by comparing the borrower’s quarterly gross receipts for one calendar quarter in 2020 with the corresponding quarter in 2019.
  • Both the maximum loan amount and the payroll amount calculation used to size the loan have changed. 

For more details, see these additional resources:
Upcoming Events
Mark Your Calendar! All events are free unless noted

  • January 22, 2 p.m. - Weekly Government Affairs Zoom Call (each Friday at 2 p.m. through February 12). Zoom link here.
  • January 26, 11 a.m. - Free Member Webinar: Second round of PPP and Accessing COVID-19 Relief - Everything You Need To Know. Register here.
  • February 2, 10 a.m. - Webinar for Newport News Restaurants with the Commissioner of Revenue. Register here.
  • February 10, 10 a.m. - Webinar Wednesday: How to Gain Organic Traction on Your Instagram Page. Register here. For VRLTA members.
Government Affairs
ABC Alcohol-To-Go Bill Passes Senate 38-1
A bill to allow distillers, wineries, mixed beverage, and limited mixed beverage licensees to continue to sell and deliver mixed beverages and pre-mixed wine for off-premises consumption through July 1, 2022 was approved 38-1 in the Senate today and will now go to the House of Delegates. More information here.
Virginia Department of Health COVID Resources
Workforce & Education
VRLTA Job Board: FREE Listings for VRLTA Members Extended!

Have you posted a job on VRLTA's new job board, focused specifically on our industry?

Employers can list hospitality and tourism jobs, and VRLTA members get unlimited listings for free (choose 30, 60 or 90 days - up to $100 value for each listing!). A 30-day listing for nonmembers is just $50. Job seekers can search jobs statewide and post their resume in the resume bank.

Let VRLTA help your business during this challenging time with a job board focused just on hospitality and tourism jobs. Take advantage of your membership and get free listings through the end of the year. There's no cost or risk to members - why not give it a try?

Want to list a position? It's SO easy...click here to learn more.
Looking for ServSafe Training?

Our preferred partners have over 30 ServSafe classes available in the next few months. See all the options here.
VRLTA Partner Updates
Great Offer from VRLTA Partner MarginEdge

MarginEdge, a VRLTA partner, offers assistance critical to restaurants to save you money and time. Get real-time food and recipe costs, look at actuals vs. theoreticals, manage recipes across teams and locations, automate your invoice processing, and integrate with your POS and accounting systems. Best of all, you can try it FREE until April.
More News You Can Use
Need a Laugh?

Then check out this new book by Mike Stoupa, Tourism Sales Specialist in Prince William County. It's a humorous look at Mike's quarantine experience with his 'coworkers' - his 2- and 5-year-old children! Mike is generously donating 75% of the profits from sales of the book in February and March to the VRLTA Restaurant & Hospitality Relief Fund. Thank you, Mike, for supporting those in our industry!

Want to Ensure You Get All the Info from VRLTA?

As we've moved to our new backend system, we've heard from some of you that you are not receiving emails generated through that system. This is generally occurring for organizations with very strict email protection measures in place. Specifically, if you provide specific IP addresses to your email provider to safelist, you should add the following to the list:

Please note that unless you have previously needed to safelist IP addresses for email deliverability, you do not need to take this step now. 
Valentine Makeover Giveaway

Ma Michele's Cafe & Catering is giving away two makeovers to RVA-area restaurant owners.

Tell them why your favorite Restaurant Owner deserves a makeover. Are they dedicated to the community? Did they work their hardest during COVID? Is their food the best you’ve ever had? Or do they just deserve the love they freely give to others? This is your chance to let Ma Michele's know so they can give them a little love in return!

Visit MaMicheles.com and on the Contact Form, in one a paragraph or less, share why this person deserves a makeover.
Webinar Resources...

  • National Restaurant Association on-demand webinars on a variety of topics can be found here.
  • AHLA also has many on-demand webinars for members. Find them here.