LEAD NEWS: Federal Update

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the CARES Act which would provide economic relief to hospitality related businesses and their employees and it’s now headed to President Trump who is expected to sign it.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association put together a summary of all the COVID-19 with details on all federal legislation that has been enacted and that which is currently making its way through Congress.

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 .
VRLTA Launches Restaurant & Hospitality Relief Fund
The Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association, through its 501c3 foundation (Virginia Restaurant Lodging & Travel Association Educational Foundation/VRLTAEF) has formed a new industry relief fund to aid workers displaced by the recent restaurant and hospitality industry shutdowns. 
The Virginia Restaurant & Hospitality Relief Fund will be providing direct cash support to workers that have been laid off due to the recent COVID19-related business downturn in Virginia. The VRLTAEF will be funding the new trust with donations from individual donors and grants from local private foundations and corporate partners. VRLTA has also partnered with the Virginia Tourism Corporation to create a  Virginia is for Restaurant Lovers t-shirt , and other merchandise, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Fund. Donations may be disbursed to organizations around the state which can connect the support to individuals, or, in some cases, made directly to affected individuals.
VRLTA is asking all of the industry’s suppliers, distributors, allied vendor partners, and other corporations to support the Fund. The restaurant and hospitality industries in Virginia are not only large employers, but also greatly contribute to the Commonwealth's economy.
All donations to the Fund are fully tax-deductible, subject to applicable laws and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations. If you would like to direct your donation to a particular area, please reach out to marketing@vrlta.org for assistance.

Donations can be made through VRLTA's websit e at  https://www.vrlta.org/donations/donate.asp?id=19606 .
State Legislation
As we have shared with you, 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.

We have learned that the Virginia Municipal League has sent a letter to the Governor’s office requesting him to delay the effective date on a several different bills. On their list is the proposed minimum wage increase which they asked for him to delay enactment. In addition, they mentioned that the state should evaluate the impact that business and employment losses will have on the state budget.
Hospitality Essential Services Letter for Employees

We have received concerns from folks regarding the states that have issued shelter in place orders for all citizens. While Virginia has not taken that path yet, we would like to share with you some letters that can be provided to your employees to identify them as essential.

Here are the options for lodging employees: Option 1 , Option 2
Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act
Here is a useful document detailing various SBA programs, Frequently Asked Questions, and more.

Additional SBA links you may find helpful:

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.



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.