2/25/21
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?
Governor Northam Relaxes Some Restrictions
 
Yesterday, Governor Ralph Northam announced that he was relaxing restrictions related to COVID-19. These changes will take effect on March 1, 2021. Below, find changes specific to hospitality and tourism.

  • The Governor announced that he is pushing the alcohol sales curfew back from 10 p.m. to midnight.
  • In addition, he is lifting the curfew that has been in place and restricts travel between midnight and 5 a.m.
  • The constraints for outdoor social gatherings are being increased from a 10 person limit to a 25 person limit.
  • Indoor entertainment venues will continue to have 30% capacity limit or 250 people, whichever is less.
  • Outdoor entertainment venues will see their capacity limits increase to 30% or 1000 people, whichever is less.

The governor mentioned that if trends continue they will be relaxing additional restrictions towards the end of March.

You can view an amended copy of Executive Order 72 here. Watch the full press conference here.
Federal Update: COVID Relief, RESTAURANTS Act, and Raise the Wage Act

It appears that the next round of COVID relief will pass through Congress by mid-March. Part of the package includes the RESTAURANTS Act. See here for details on this legislation, put together by the NRA.

Some highlights:

  • Offers help for entities that own/operate 20 or fewer establishments (as of 3/13/20), including restaurants, food stands, food trucks, food carts, caterers, saloons, inns, taverns, bars, lounges, brewpubs, tasting rooms, and taprooms. 
  • The maximum grant is $10 million per restaurant group, $5 million per individual restaurant.
  • Grants will be calculated by subtracting the 2020 revenues of the entity from the 2019 revenues of the entity (allowances made for businesses not active during that entire time).
  • Eligible expenses include payroll and benefits, mortgage, rent, utilities, maintenance, supplies including protective equipment and cleaning materials, food, operational expenses, covered supplier costs as defined by the SBA under the PPP program, sick leave, and any other expenses deemed essential.
  • Grants can be spent on eligible expenses from 2/15/20 through 12/31/21; may be extended.
  • Some initial priority will be give to smaller businesses as well as women-owned, veteran-owned, or socially and economically disadvantaged businesses.

It is still unclear whether the Senate will include the Raise the Wage Act in the COVID Relief Package, although it is currently included in the House version. VRLTA opposes Raise the Wage. Want to weigh in on Raise the Wage with your legislators? Do so here.
CDC Now Includes Hotel Workers in Vaccine Phase 1c
Thanks to AHLA’s ongoing efforts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Categories of Essential Workers to prioritize “Traveler Accommodation” under Phase 1c of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. This is a significant achievement that directly impacts the health and safety of hotel workers across the country. 
 
This week in partnership with UNITE HERE, AHLA renewed its call sending a letter to the National Governors Association advocating for inclusion of hotel workers in state vaccine distribution efforts further supporting the work of state lodging association partners to engage with state decision makers.
 
From housing healthcare workers and first responders to now supporting the ongoing vaccine distribution, the lodging industry is playing a vital role in supporting communities as we battle this public health crisis. While hotels have protocols in place to ensure the safety of employees and guests with the Safe Stay initiative, prioritizing vaccinations for employees is something AHLA has long advocated for and provides another layer of protection.
Time is Running Out! VRLTA & DoorDash Restaurant Grant Program Applications Due by 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.
U.S. Travel Association VIRTUAL Federal Legislative Day
Destination Capitol Hill (DCH) is the U.S. Travel industry's premier legislative fly-in. The event brings travel leaders from across the country together to educate policymakers about the power of travel. The program combines a legislative day on Capitol Hill with advocacy training, guest speakers and peer-to-peer networking. DCH provides delegates with an opportunity to learn about upcoming legislation that impacts travel, network with peers and meet with members of Congress to stress the importance of travel as an economic driver. Learn more here.
Upcoming Events
Mark Your Calendar!

  • TODAY! February 26, 12:30 p.m. - Second Round: Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) presented by the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. (Please note: this event will be presented in Spanish). 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. - VRLTA Webinar Wednesday: Post Legislative Session Recap. Register here.
  • March 15 and March 17 - U.S. Travel Association Destination Capital Hill Virtual Legislative Day. More information and registration here.
  • March 16, 10 a.m. - VRLTA Richmond Chapter Virtual Chapter Meeting. Register here.
  • March 16, 4 p.m. - VRLTA Shenandoah Valley Chapter Virtual Chapter Meeting. Register here.
  • March 18, 3 p.m. - VRLTA Fairfax - Loudoun Chapter Virtual Chapter Meeting: Being an Industry of Inclusion: Understanding Unconscious Bias in the Workplace. Register here.
  • March 19, 10 a.m. - VRLTA Bull Run Chapter Virtual Chapter Meeting: Being an Industry of Inclusion: Understanding Unconscious Bias in the Workplace. Register here.
  • March 22, 1 p.m. - VRLTA Arlington-Alexandria Chapter Virtual Chapter Meeting: Being an Industry of Inclusion: Understanding Unconscious Bias in the Workplace. Register here.
  • March 24, 1 p.m. - VRLTA Webinar Wednesday: The Post Pandemic Workplace: An HR and Employment Law Prospective. Register here.
  • March 24, 4 p.m. - VRLTA Charlottesville Chapter Virtual Chapter Meeting. Register here.
  • March 25, 10 a.m. - VRLTA 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...

  • Past VRLTA webinars can be seen here.
  • 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. Last week, VRLTA sent a letter to leadership on this issue. See related articles here and here.

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
Vaccine Update: VDH Vaccination Pre-Registration Site
 
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.
Additional Virginia Department of Health COVID Resources
 
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