9/24/20
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?
The 2020 Ordinary Awards are next Wednesday, 9/30 at 2 p.m. Register today!
Want to celebrate our industry? Then join us for the 2020 Ordinary Awards on September 30 at 2 p.m., where VRLTA will recognize the best of the best! See all of the finalists in the video below. This year's event is free to attend and fully virtual - take time from your hectic day to join us for a feel-good celebration of tourism and hospitality!
Want to Be In The Know? Attend VRLTA's Upcoming Full Membership Meeting and Component Meetings
VRLTA's fall membership and component meetings will be VIRTUAL this year. At the meetings, we'll be electing officers, getting updates on Government Affairs and Education, gathering feedback from members, and more. By attending, you are taking part in shaping the direction of the association for the coming year. There is no cost to attend, but you must register to get the Zoom links. You may register for any or all.
Grant Updates

Stafford County Extends Deadline for Business Grants - Stafford County remains focused on providing support to our businesses as we continue to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic. As part of that continued support, the Stafford County Economic Development Authority (EDA) is extending the application window, along with revised program guidelines for the Stay, Sleep, and Safe in Stafford Business Grant(s). Deadline is MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28. Learn more here.

Albemarle County Safe Spaces Grant - County-based businesses are encouraged to apply for the Albemarle County Safe Spaces & Places Grant Program, a support initiative for businesses that have temporarily expanded or will temporarily expand outdoors to serve customers due to COVID-19. Applicable expenses may include items such as tents; outdoor furniture, heating, and lighting; portable sanitizing and bathrooms; and other elements that promote safe, outdoor business activity. Businesses may apply for grants for between $5,000 - $25,000 for outdoor expansion costs incurred between March 1st and December 30th, 2020. The temporary outdoor expansions will be permitted for the duration of the Emergency Ordinance passed by the Board of Supervisors. Individual businesses, shopping centers, and property managers are encouraged to apply.

Businesses interested in learning more about the program and asking questions about eligibility should register to attend a webinar  scheduled for Friday, September 25th at 1 pm. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reviews will begin on October 2 and funds will be distributed soon after approval. Projects must be completed before December 30, 2020.
VA1 Tourism Summit - November 16 in Richmond!

The 2020 VA1 Tourism Summit is still on, although in a modified format. We'll gather for a one-day event in Richmond, but it will be jam-packed with amazing speakers and content focused on travel in the time of COVID-19; "back to business" strategies; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and more relevant and timely topics. Our great slate of speakers includes:
Adam Sacks, Founder and President of Tourism Economics will share his insight with VA1 attendees through his presentation “Preparing for the Recovery.”
Sheila Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts and Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment will sit down with emcee Kelli Lemon and for one of Kelli’s Coffee With Strangers sessions.
Jack Johnson from Destinations International will present "Travel and Tourism as a Community Shared Value”
Michael Dominguez is President and CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International will offer our closing keynote and inspire you for the coming year.
Greg DeShields is the Executive Director at PHLDiversity, a business development division of the Philadelphia CVB, will join us as a panelist for a session on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Jessie States, Director of the MPI Academy for Meeting Professionals International, will lead a Super Session on how COVID has changed the execution of meetings, events, conferences, and trade shows.
The event will follow all guidelines for safety and distancing, and adhere to current federal, state, and locally-mandated protocols. Visit this page to learn more about how we are keeping VA1 healthy and safe! We continue to monitor the situation and will adjust plans as necessary. Learn more at www.va1tourismsummit.org. We are working to finalize the schedule and speakers now.
Government Affairs
Virginia Department of Labor and Industry COVID-19 Regulations Action Alert - Voice Your Concerns!
 
VRLTA has been following the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (VDOLI) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) discussion closely. As you know, we previously weighed in with our concerns about the ETS, and the confusion and conflicting information included in the regulations. While the regulations were enacted under the guise of being temporary, VDOLI is now moving to make these onerous requirements permanent.

VRLTA has many concerns with making the ETS a permanent standard, as the regulation still is convoluted, contradictory, and superfluous. For example, the test based strategy for “return to work” is in conflict with recommendations from public health officials at VDH and the CDC. In addition, it requires that employers report positive cases to VDH, an action that health care providers already take when responding to positive results.

Moreover, VDOLI has failed to recognize hospitality industry specific safety programs including the American Hotel & Lodging Association Safe Stay, and National Restaurant Association Servesafe Dining Commitment trainings. These trainings were developed in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other public health experts.

Considering that COVID-19 will eventually have viable treatments and vaccines, it’s misguided to establish these requirements as a permanent standard. So, these requirements will be in place indefinitely, including when COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency. As a result, hospitality and tourism related businesses will need to comply with these onerous regulations after effective treatments have been developed, and most people have been immunized.

We strongly urge you to share your comments with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry. The deadline to comment on making these regulations permanent is Friday, September 25.

You can view more details on the proposed permanent regulations here.

Weigh in with VDOLI and voice your concerns on the regulation here.
Governor's Update - Rebuild VA Grant Eligibility Expanded

As you know, VRLTA has been advocating the restructuring of Governor Ralph Northam’s Rebuild VA economic recovery fund for businesses impacted by COVID-19 as it excluded businesses that had received federal relief and prohibited hotels from acquiring funds through the fund. Earlier this week the Governor announced that he was expanding eligibility of the Rebuild VA grant. Under the new criteria, hotels now qualify for the grant fund. In addition, other hospitality and tourism related businesses that previously were excluded because they obtained relief through federal CARES Act programs may now apply for the Rebuild VA grant.

You can find more about the new application, covered expenses, and eligibility for the Rebuild VA grant here.
Upcoming Events
Mark Your Calendar!

  • September 29, 1 p.m. - National Restaurant Association Webinar: From the COVID-19 Trenches: Lessons Learned and Breakout Successes in the Foodservice Industry. Register here.
  • September 29, 3 p.m. - National Restaurant Association Webinar: Crystal Ball 2021: How Upcoming Elections Could Impact Restaurant Regulations. Register here.
  • September 30, 2-3 p.m. - VIRTUAL - Annual VRLTA Ordinary Awards. Register here.
  • October 1, 10-11 a.m. - VIRTUAL - VRLTA Lodging Component Meeting. Register here.
  • October 1, 2-3 p.m. - VIRTUAL - VRLTA Restaurant Component Meeting. Register here.
  • October 2, 10-11 a.m. - VIRTUAL - VRLTA Travel Component Meeting. Register here.
  • October 7, 1:30-3 p.m. - VIRTUAL - Membership and Board of Directors Meeting. Register here.
  • October 14, 10-11 a.m. - VIRTUAL - VRLTA Webinar Wednesday - To Your Health - Explore all of the member healthcare benefits offered through VRLTA! Register here.
  • October 27, 9:30 a.m. - Virginia Sporting Clay Shoot PAC and Restaurant Advocacy Fundraiser - Old Forge Sporting Clay, Providence Forge. See below for details.
  • November 16, all day - VA1 Tourism Summit, Omni Richmond Hotel. Register here.
Webinar Wednesday Continues on October 14

Did you know that being a member of VRLTA can improve your health? The Association offers a number of programs through partners that can help you, give important benefits to your employees, and save your business money. What's not to love?
VRLTA is continuing our webinar series on October 14 with a webinar entitled To Your Health. Members can join us to learn more about programs from UnitedHealth Group/ Optum and USI Insurance Services. Our experts will give you all the information you need to improve your health and that of your organization!

Kimberlee Vandervoorn of UnitedHealth Group/Optum and Holly Miller from USI Insurance Services will lead this event. They'll be sharing information about various programs offered to members which can improve your health, give important benefits to employees, and save your business money. Registration ends on October 13th at 5pm.
Education & Training
AHLA Offering New Enhanced Version of COVID-19 Precautions for Hotels

AHLA is proud to announce a new enhanced version of COVID-19 Precautions for Hotels, a hotel-specific online training course designed specifically for cleaning and safety during the pandemic. This valuable training tool was developed in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) and now includes a brand new module focused on de-escalation training for employees. The new de-escalation module offers all hotel employees guidance on how to reduce tensions and promote a safe environment while maintaining the spirit of hospitality throughout all interactions. The course is available for $5 for individual purchase, and can also be purchased at an enterprise level.
ServSafe: Classes Are Up and Running

VRLTA's preferred ServSafe training partners are offering ServSafe training around the state - we currently are listing more than 30 classes in 10+ different localities (including some classes in Spanish), so there is bound to be a class to meet your needs. ORS and RVA Food Safety are also offering test proctoring. Click here to learn more and see the entire upcoming schedule. Partners' classes are filling quickly, so register today!
More News You Can Use
Congratulations to VRLTA's Brittany Wojdyla!

VRLTA's Director of Membership Development Brittany Blythe is now Brittany Wojdyla, after her recent wedding. Join us in wishing Brittany congratulations! Her email is still the same: brittany@vrlta.org.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Statewide Restaurante Week!

October 5th through October 11th
 
Restaurante Week is an initiative by the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and it's partners to support Latino / Hispanic Restaurant owned and themed businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. Participating restaurants participants can be found at www.vahcc.com.

If you'd like to participate in this event, you can get more information and register here.

VRLTA is proud to support the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and this event.
Got Some Creative Ideas?

VRLTA members have gotten creative in dealing with COVID-19. Whether it's expanded outdoor dining areas, signage for distancing, or innovative solutions to keep your business working, we want to hear about it! We're posting images on Facebook of these great ideas and would love to share yours, too.

Send images to brittany@vrlta.org and we'll include them in our Facebook album. Want to see what others are doing? Click here.