Taking Care of Yourself and Others

The recent weeks have been an unprecedented time for our country, for businesses, and for employees. The uncertainty surrounding the tourism and hospitality industries is adding stress and impacting mental and physical well-being on top of the regular stressors of jobs in these industries. Job losses, no matter which side you're on, take a mental toll. Financial, safety, and other worries add to the burden owners, managers, and front-line employees are feeling.

Today's newsletter is focused on providing some resources that you can use yourself and share with staff. During this time of crisis, we have also experienced communities pulling together for support, help, and relief. Know that VRLTA is here to support YOU, our members, and others.

Co mmon signs of distress may include:

  • Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear.
  • Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images.
  • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Anger or short-temper.
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

Ways to take care of yourself:

  • Help your family and others
  • Take breaks from the news and social media
  • Take care of your physical self - eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, avoid drugs and alcohol, meditate
  • Connect with others to find the positive
  • Find others to talk to about what you're feeling

Useful resources on stress management:

I f you or someone you know needs help:

  • SAMHSA's Disaster Distress Helpline, 800 985 5990, a 24/7/365 helpline to provide immediate crisis counseling (services provided in English, Spanish, and for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 800 799 7233
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 800 273 TALK
  • Help Starts Here - find a therapist or social worker
  • Alcoholics Anonymous Virginia
  • Ben's Friends - Ben’s Friends is the food and beverage industry support group offering hope, fellowship, and a path forward to professionals who struggle with substance abuse and addiction. Daily Zoom meetings at 1 pm ET
  • Sanvello Health, Inc., a leading provider of digital and tele-mental health solutions to individuals, businesses and payers, is offering free premium access to its digital care delivery platform. Sanvello Health is part of UnitedHealth Group. To activate free premium access, anyone can download Sanvello for free from the App Store or Google Play and create an account to begin using the strategies, tools, and peer support.
  • UnitedHealth Group is also offering free emotional support for all, any time at 866-342-6892. This 24/7 Optum Help Line is staffed by professionally trained mental health experts. It is free of charge and open to anyone.

Virginia resources available for financial and other assistance:

National resources available for financial and other assistance:

  • NRA's Restaurant Employee Relief Fund - providing $500 grants through a restaurant employee relief fund dedicated to assist distressed restaurant employees whose work-life has been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund was created to help restaurant industry employees who have demonstrated being financially impacted by COVID-19, whether through a decrease in wages or loss of employment. These grants will be made on a first-come first-served basis, subject to availability of funds. 100% of the Fund’s proceeds will go to providing grants to restaurant workers.
  • CORE: Children of Restaurant Employees - CORE is the nationally recognized community of support for all food and beverage service families in need by ensuring they feel cared for and valued.
  • For more national resources, see this page (scroll to bottom).
Are you in a position to help? Donate today to VRLTA's 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 and also aid 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. 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/businesses.
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  jim@vrlta.org  for assistance.

Donations can be made through VRLTA's websit  e at   https://www.vrlta.org/donations/donate.asp?id=19606  .
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.