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LEAD NEWS: Virginia General Assembly Reconvenes Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the Virginia General Assembly will meet for its reconvened session to take up the Governor’s amendments on many different bills. At this session, the legislature deals with the Governor’s vetoes and amendments to various bills.

Unlike many, this is likely going to be a very historic reconvened session based on the fact that the House of Delegates is meeting on the lawn of the Capitol grounds, and the Senate is meeting in the Science Museum of Virginia. So, it creates some logistical challenges for the Virginia General Assembly.

That being said, we have been reaching out to key legislators to ask for their support on the following bills:

  • The budget to override state law to waive penalties and interest to delay the sales tax and income tax payments;
  • HB395/ SB7 (minimum wage increases);
  • HB1414/ SB890 (Northern Virginia lodging tax);
  • HB785/ SB588 (tax equalization between localities);
  • HB1726, SB1038 (Hampton Roads lodging tax);
  • HB1505 (Small Business Jobs Fund for Small Business Grants); and
  • HB881/ SB971 (Games of Skill).

As we shared yesterday, we encourage you to take action and contact your legislators on these important issues.
Federal COVID-19 Relief Phase 3.5

We just learned that the Senate has approved additional federal relief funding for small businesses. The legislation now heads to the House where it’s expected they will take it up on Thursday. You can find the details on the additional relief financing here.
Utilize these local resources for business grants and loans

The Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association has been collaborating with the Virginia Municipal League, Virginia Association of Counties, and localities across the Commonwealth to establish COVID-19 business relief grants/ loans. We know that in many cases existing federal relief has been inadequate, difficult to obtain, and the programs structured in a rigid manner. The local option below are ones that you can consider as well. If you know of additional programs in your area, please send details and a link to marketing@vrlta.org - we will post on our website for all. For more details, see this page .

  • Albemarle County established a $200,000 Business Recovery Fund, a microloan program to be administered through its Community Investment Collaborative.
  • Arlington County has established the Giving Resiliency Assets Near Term (GRANT) program, which will make a limited number of grants of up to $10,000 available to small businesses and nonprofits beginning in May. 
  • The City of Danville and Pittsylvania County have a number of grants and loans available. Learn more here.
  • Fairfax County has approved a County Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Fund of $2.5 million, administered through its Community Business Partnership
  • Fauquier County: “The Fauquier Micro Loan Program has been revamped to serve as an emergency loan program for small businesses in the County in response to the Covid-19 crisis.” Loans of up to $5000 are available. 
  • Per Goochland County Economic Development’s website, “Goochland County’s e-Commerce Grant Program is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is a joint undertaking by the Goochland County Economic Development Authority and the Office of Economic Development.”
  • The Town of Middleburg is offering a program to support local restaurants.
  • The City of Norfolk Department of Economic Development is introducing a loan product to offset foreign supply chain disruptions to existing businesses in the city of Norfolk, starting March 23, 2020.
  • The City of Richmond is offering loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses within city limits to help employers cover labor costs to keep businesses open and pay employee wages. The interest rate is 0%. There is a six month deferment period, after which the loan is paid off in interest-free installments over 48 months. 
  • Shenandoah Valley Workforce Board is offering Small Business Layoff Aversion grants of up to $5000 to small businesses in the region. Covered areas include: counties of Rockbridge, Augusta, Rockingham, Bath, Highland, Shenandoah, Page, Frederick, Clarke, and Warren and the cities of Lexington, Buena Vista, Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Winchester.
  • Shenandoah County’s IDA is offering a Disaster Impact Loan Program with loans of up to $5000. Other programs also available.
  • Stafford County Economic Development Authority is providing grants to local small businesses to assist with payroll costs from a grant fund of $250,000.
Upcoming webinar for restaura nts: "Navigate & Elevate Alcohol To-go Sales" hosted by E&J Gallo Winery

E&J Gallo Winery will be hosting an educational webinar for restaurant operators on  Monday, April 27 st  at 3PM.  The webinar, led by Kate Gritsch, Sr. E Commerce manager with the Winery, will cover:
  • Elevating alcohol to-go sales
  • Navigating the shifting alcohol landscape and recent e-commerce surge
  • Insights, examples, and leads to grow your alcohol to-go business
A few notes regarding the webinar:
  • Event registration & approval is required to join this webinar.
  • Registration will close 2 hours prior.
  • We encourage viewing from a computer. Attendees will only be able to hear audio if they join by phone or tablet, unless they already have the WebEx app downloaded.
Support the VRLTA Restaurant & Hospitality Relief Fund

VRLTA's industry relief fund will aid workers displaced by the recent restaurant and hospitality industry shutdowns and also help affected businesses. 
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 and affected businesses. The VRLTAEF will be funding the new trust with donations from individual donors and grants from local private foundations and corporate partners. 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/businesses.
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  jim@vrlta.org  for assistance.

Donations can be made through VRLTA's websit e at   https://www.vrlta.org/donations/donate.asp?id=19606  .
Virginia is for Restaurant Lovers Merchandise Supports the VRLTA Relief Fund - Make a purchase to show your support today!

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. 

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.