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?
Restaurant Law Center Releases Restaurant Guidance: Legal Issues to Consider Regarding COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccine Policies

Questions on whether you can or should mandate vaccines for your employees? The NRA's Restaurant Law Center has created a lengthy guidance document, which you can review here. They advise...
  • As a best practice, restaurants should encourage all employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
  • In general, if you want to and based on existing case law, restaurants can require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Please note that most of the prior cases dealt with individuals in the health care field, which more often would require vaccinations as a prerequisite to employment.
  • Restaurants still must allow for disability accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and religious accommodations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Weekly Government Affairs Call TODAY 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.
New River Valley Small Business Resiliency Grants

The Counties of Floyd, Giles, Pulaski, and Montgomery have jointly established a regional $1.6 million grant fund, known as the New River Valley Small Business Resiliency Grant to support the region’s small business recovery and resiliency efforts following the COVID19 outbreak. Funds for these grants has been provided by Virginia’s Department of Housing and Community Development as part of a Community Development Block Grant award. Due to this funding source, we are unable to offer grants to businesses based in the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg, as well as the City of Radford. Grants of up to $15,000 are being provided to eligible businesses within the region to offset business impacts. For more info, contact your local tourism office or email tourism@gilescounty.org.
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. Learn more here, and find the application here.
City of Richmond Distributing Outdoor Heat Lamps to Small Businesses

Richmond is now taking applications to receive outdoor heat lamps. Learn more here and apply here.
Upcoming Events
Mark Your Calendar! All events are free unless noted

  • 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.
  • February 11, 3 p.m. - Taking a Shot at COVID-19: What Restaurants Need to Know About Vaccinating Their Workforce (Restaurant Law Center Webinar). Register here.
Government Affairs
VDOLI Final Permanent Standards Released

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry has released the final permanent standards related to COVID-19 from the Safety and Health Codes Board. These regulations are in effect as of 1/27/21. Find the full, final document here. Also, here is a Summary of Significant Changes from the Emergency Temporary Standard to the Final Permanent Standard provided by VDOLI.
Executive Order 72 Extended
Yesterday, Governor Ralph Northam announced an extension of Executive Order 72. This order initially was scheduled to expire on January 31, but has since been extended through February 28, 2021. This would extend the ABC restrictions on sales after 10pm and limits on group sizes. You can view the amended version of EO72 here.
Workforce & Education
VRLTA Job Board: FREE Listings for VRLTA Members

Have you posted a job on VRLTA's 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.
More News You Can Use
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.
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!

Virginia Department of Health COVID Resources
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.
  • The Restaurant Law Center has free webinars on demand here.