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?
Vaccine Update: VDH Launches New Vaccination Pre-Registration Site
Earlier this week, the Virginia Department of Health launched a centralized pre-registration site for vaccines, at vaccinate.virginia.gov. VRLTA is encouraging ALL INDIVIDUALS to sign up now to get updates and help VDH plan for vaccination efforts. If you have already registered with your local health department or previously with VDH, your registration should have transferred over. Once you are pre-registered, you'll receive updates on vaccine availability and timing. Find the VDH's general information page here.

The phases for the vaccine are:
  • 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.
VRLTA & DoorDash Restaurant Grant Program Applications Due March 1 at 5 p.m.
We've had a lot of interest in the $450,000 grant program we recently kicked off with DoorDash. If you're a Virginia restaurant, please take a few minutes to apply for a chance at one of the $3,500 grants. Judges from the restaurant and tourism industries will ensure grants are distributed across Virginia and prioritize businesses which have not benefited from other financial assistance. In addition, a minimum of 20% of the grants will be earmarked to minority-owned and/or women-owned businesses. See all of the details and eligibility here.

We're also asking for help from you to get the word out about the program in your area. Here's a flyer you can share with restaurants in your area.

The partnership will also offer benefits to VRLTA members including savings on DoorDash's Storefront, which allows restaurants to easily create a branded online store to enable pickup and delivery ordering directly from the restaurant website, commission-free. For VRLTA members with five locations or fewer, software fees are waived through March 31, 2021. VRLTA members who become new DoorDash partners will also benefit from 0% commission for the first 30 days.
New Grant Opportunities
Chesapeake Grant Opportunity
Chesapeake Economic Development has opened a third round of COVID relief grants. The grants of up to $10,000 are available to Chesapeake businesses with fewer than 50 employees in business since March 1, 2019. Funds can be used for reimbursable business expenditures related to COVID-19. Learn more here, or apply here.
Hampton Roads Grant Opportunity for 501(c)(3) Organizations
The Rotary Club of Norfolk has announced a new $50,000 grant program for nonprofit organizations working in Hampton Roads (primarily Norfolk). Typical grants are $1,000 to $5,000. Applications are due February 26. More information here.
TripAdvisor Publishes New Report: The Year of the Travel Rebound
TripAdvisor recently published a report highlighting traveler trends to watch in 2021. Highlights include:

  • Traveler confidence that the vaccine rollout will allow for more travel, including international travel, soon;
  • Domestic travel will remain strong;
  • Consumers are spending more time planning trips;
  • Respondents are looking forward to more in person dining this year, but will also order more takeout meals.

Upcoming Events
Mark Your Calendar!

  • February 24, 10 a.m. - Webinar Wednesday: PPP, ERC, & Employee Vaccinations. Register here.
  • February 27, 11 a.m. - Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce A Taste of Black History Virtual Brunch. More information here.
  • March 10, 10 a.m. - Webinar Wednesday: Post Legislative Session Recap. Register here.
  • March 16, 10 a.m. - Richmond Chapter Virtual Chapter Meeting. Register here.
  • March 16, 4 p.m. - Shenandoah Valley Chapter Virtual Chapter Meeting. Register here.
  • March 18, 3 p.m. - Fairfax - Loudoun Chapter Virtual Chapter Meeting: Being an Industry of Inclusion: Understanding Unconscious Bias in the Workplace. Register here.
  • March 19, 10 a.m. - Bull Run Chapter Virtual Chapter Meeting: Being an Industry of Inclusion: Understanding Unconscious Bias in the Workplace. Register here.
  • March 22, 1 p.m. - Arlington-Alexandria Chapter Virtual Chapter Meeting: Being an Industry of Inclusion: Understanding Unconscious Bias in the Workplace. Register here.
  • March 24, 1 p.m. - Webinar Wednesday: The Post Pandemic Workplace: An HR and Employment Law Prospective. Register here.
  • March 24, 4 p.m. - Charlottesville Chapter Virtual Chapter Meeting. Register here.
  • March 25, 10 a.m. - Norfolk Chapter Virtual Chapter Meeting. Register here.
  • April 14, 1-4 p.m. - AHLA Virtual Safety Summit. Free for AHLA members. Learn more and register here.
  • April 28-29 - 8th Annual Virginia Green Travel Conference & Travel Star Awards. Learn more and register here.

Other 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.
Government Affairs
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.
Current Action Alerts - Act NOW if You Haven't Already
VRLTA and the NRA currently have a number of measures on which we are asking you to contact your legislators in Virginia or in Congress. Get more details about each here.
Federal: Oppose the Raise the Wage Act

Congress is considering raising the minimum wage and eliminating the tipped wage. Say NO to the Raise the Wage Act here.
Virginia: Oppose PPP Loan Bill That Would Increase Taxes

Virginia legislators still haven't built in enough tax deductibility for PPP recipients to avoid being taxed on what they received. This week, VRLTA sent a letter to leadership on this issue. See related articles here and here.

Virginia: Support Closing Online Travel Agency Loophole

Right now, online travel agencies benefit from a loophole that allows them to pay less in lodging and occupancy taxes on hotel rooms booked through them. VRLTA supports this bill to level the playing field for hotels.

Workforce & Education
Did You Know? It's Career & Technical Education Month

An important part of VRLTA's is to support hospitality education programs across the Commonwealth. The two-year ProStart program is designed to get more high school-aged young people interested in careers in the hospitality industry, and hospitality programs at the collegiate level. ProStart is currently in 63 Virginia high schools and technical centers. Although ProStart has looked different this past year, there are still ways to get involved.

Learn more about VRLTA's Education Foundation and the ProStart Program.

Interested in helping? Reach out to Jim Wilson.
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
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!

Additional Virginia Department of Health COVID Resources