Virtual Happy Hour Update Call
Tomorrow, Friday 3/27 at 4 p.m.

Dial in information: 202.602.1295, conference ID 789-103-256#
LEAD NEWS: COVID-19 Economic Relief Legislation
Passes US Senate

Note: this is the same information sent this morning.

There are four main titles within the 500-page Senate bill.  You can see a more detailed description of what is included in each the sections in AHLA's  Comprehensive Summary of COVID-19 Congressional Packages , but below are some of the topline provisions that most impact the hotel industry and our members.

Title 1. Keeping American worker paid and employed Act: SBA Loan Program 
  • $350 billion in loan forgiveness grants to small businesses and non-profits to maintain existing workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities.
  • $10 billion for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs.
  • $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.
  • Hotel Language: AHLA secured language which waives affiliation rules and provides for eligibility to be determined by physical location or property instead of being aggregated to the employer. 

Title 2. Assistance for America's workers, Families and Businesses: Expanded Unemployment Insurance, Tax Rebates and Business Tax Provisions

  • Creation of temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program 
  • All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 married), who are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible social security number, are eligible for the full $1,200 ($2,400 married) check, plus an additional $500 per child.
  • Example: a family of 4 could receive up to $3,400

Tax provisions: 
  • Delay of estimated tax payments for corporations until October 15, 2020.
  • Defers Payroll Tax payment; half paid on Dec 31, 2021 and other half on Dec 31, 2022.
  • 5 year carry back for Net Operating Losses (Includes special treatment for REITS)
  • Increases Section 163j business expensing from 30% limitation to 50% of taxable income for 2019 and 2020.
  • Employee Retention Credit - The provision provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid by employers to employees during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Qualified Improvement Property Fix – allows for immediate expensing for qualified improvements to property.

Title 3. Supporting America's Health Care System in the fight against the Coronavirus: Funding for Hospitals, health care facilities and providers

Labor Provisions: 
  • Paid Leave for Rehired Employees: Allows an employee who was laid off by an employer March 1, 2020, or later to have access to paid family and medical leave in certain instances if they are rehired by the employer. 
  • Advance Refunding of Credits: Allows employers to receive an advance tax credit from Treasury instead of having to be reimbursed on the back end. 

Title 4. Economic Stabilization and Assistance to Severely Distressed Sectors of the American Economy: Funding for Impacted Industries including Hotels
  • Defines an "Eligible Business" as a United States business that has not otherwise received adequate economic relief in the form of loans or loan guarantees provided under this Act. 

Emergency Relief for Impacted Industries  -  Provides $500 billion to Treasury's Exchange Stabilization Fund  to provide loans, loan guarantees, and other investments, distributed as follows: 
  • $25 billion for air carriers; $4 billion for cargo carriers; $17 billion for businesses important to maintaining national security 
  • $454 billion in support of the Federal Reserve's lending facilities to eligible businesses including hotels

A copy of the final Federal version of the bill can be viewed  here .

The National Restaurant Association has also shared their analysis of the legislation  here .
Local Taxation Relief Measures
The VRLTA Government Affairs team has been in communication with local government organizations that can be of assistance to our members during this time, including the Virginia Association of Counties, Virginia Municipal League, and Commissioners of Revenue Association of Virginia. We have asked them to urge their members to consider economic relief at the local level, including temporarily deferring/ eliminating meals, lodging, admissions, and property tax collections.

It appears that our collaborative efforts are paying off as we have seen a growing number of localities adopting these tax relief efforts. McGuireWoods Consulting has been tracking the adoption of these local tax measures, updating their list of these ordinances daily. You can access that information here .
Next week is Virginia is for Restaurant Lovers Takeout Week
VRLTA and Virginia Tourism Corporation have teamed up to create and promote Virginia is for Restaurant Lovers Takeout Week, which will be March 30 to April 5 - next week!

The effort will encourage Virginians who are able to participate in the takeout challenge by ordering takeout, delivery, or curbside pickup from area restaurants throughout the week. 
VTC and VRLTA will also partner with destinations across the state to help encourage the support of local restaurants across the Commonwealth. Participating partners and consumers should use the hashtag #VirginiaEatsLocal when posting on social media. 
Virginia Tourism will also sell limited edition “Virginia is for Restaurant Lovers” t-shirts , with a portion of the proceeds donated to local relief efforts for food service workers in crisis.


We'll have some suggested social media content to share tomorrow!
Recommendations for a Closed Hotel Property
Closed hotels can be a magnet for trespassers, vandalism, and more. AHLA has shared P3 Petra Plus Process’s recommendations for hotels that are closed.  Find the document here . If anyone would like more information, reach out to VRLTA's Kristen Karrfalt .  
Virginia Health Department - Updated Guidance on Take Out
There has been a lot of confusion regarding the differences on restaurant take out standards between what the Governor outlined in Executive Order 53 and the guidelines provided by the Virginia Health Department. VRLTA worked with the Governor’s office to ensure that their intent and guidance on restaurant operations was accurately reflected in the VDH guidance to ensure it was clear for owners and operators.

The Governor’s office has informed us that restaurant lobbies may remain open for take-out/ carry-out only. The restaurant must maintain adequate social distancing and may only allow up to 10 patrons in the lobby at one time.

The updated VDH guidelines can be found here .
Continue to visit https://www.virginiaisforrestaurantlovers.com for more information about the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on the tourism and hospitality industries. We are working to add additional resources, links, and news articles as they become available.