4/29/20 Update
LEAD NEWS: Federal Updates

  • Recently, AHLA launched “Safe Stay,” an initiative focused on enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions and workplace protocols to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19. The Safe Stay Advisory Council, comprised of leading hotel companies, will develop enhanced cleaning and safety standards. For more information, visit our website: www.ahla.com/SafeStay.  

  • This new report shows that without increased loan limits in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), small business hotels won’t be able to keep doors open and rehire employees. To help provide additional data on this issue, AHLA is conducting a survey regarding the SBA Payroll Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, business interruption insurance and debt issues. This information is critical to our advocacy efforts for the forthcoming relief packages being developed by Congress. All responses will be anonymized, and no individual information will be shared. We encourage you to share this survey with your members. Survey deadline is COB Thursday, April 30.
 
  • The hotel industry has also sent this urgent letter to Congress, signed by 13,000+ hoteliers from all 50 states requesting additional SBA Loan funding and updates to CARES Act (and attached).
 
  • To help guide our lodging partners through this difficult recovery, AHLA recently put together the Hotel Liability Exposure Guidance document for your reference in legislative conversations. We have learned from them that US Chamber and their state chapters will be leading broad efforts on liability protection. We will be working with stakeholders to ensure hospitality and tourism related businesses are protected in any state legislation that is introduced in the Virginia General Assembly.
 
VRLTA Member Tony Stafford of Ford's Fish Shack visits the White House

Tony Stafford, Chef and Owner of Ford's Fish Shack in Loudoun County was invited today to speak at The White House with President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Tony spoke about the effect of the shutdown on restaurants and the success of the PPP loan allowing him to bring back over 100 employees who had been laid off.

Tony stated: "Over the last 6 weeks, my three restaurants have been devastated by dining room closures. I had to furlough over 100 people. That was an incredibly hard phone call to make and tell my employees that we just don't have a space for you. I've never had to lay off a single employee. It was extremely hard, very emotional, and one of the hardest choices I've ever had to make. I promised every employee that we would do our best to bring them back, and we would fight every day tooth and nail to get them back into the restaurants and be successful like we were for the 10 years before this happened. Now with the help and success of the PPP loan, I've been able to keep that promise and bring every one of those employees back. It's been awesome to be able to tell them that we're going to weather this storm. We're going to get through this and we're going to be stronger and more agile once this is over. We will get through this, we will welcome our guests back, and we'll thank them for the support. I look forward to the one day when all restaurants and all small businesses can reopen and be as successful as they were before."

You can see Tony's introduction from President Trump and full comments at minute 38.


Next Week is National Travel & Tourism Week - DMOs and Attractions - we need your help!

Even though we're stuck at home, we'll still be celebrating National Travel & Tourism Week next week.

We'd love to feature some of our DMOs and attractions who are doing something special. Are you serving your community? Have you put together a cool video? Have you made an impact on the ground in your locality? Launched a new social campaign? Added something great to attract virtual visitors? Send details to marketing@vrlta.org and maybe we'll feature you next week!
THANK YOU to the latest donors to the VRLTA Restaurant & Hospitality Relief Fund

VRLTA is incredibly thankful to all of those who have donated to our relief fund. To date, we have raised over $25,000! Thank you to these recent donors:

  • Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • Virginia Spirits Association
  • Breakthru Beverage Virginia
  • Heaven Hill Brands
  • Kevin Anderson - ABC Consulting VA/Snap Fitness Herndon
  • Paul Cooper - Retro Hospitality
  • Lost Dog Cafe
  • Miriam Weisberg
  • Janet Sass
  • Heidi Cooper
  • Michele Cox
  • Martin Gravely - RVA Food Safety
  • Stephen Miller
Lost Dog Cafe is supporting the VRLTA Restaurant & Hospitality Relief Fund!
Help support the Virginia Restaurant & Hospitality Relief Fund by getting take-out from VRLTA member, Lost Dog Cafe - Dunn Loring on Sunday, May 3rd. When you purchase your meal mention the VRLTA relief fund and follow the restaurant's instructions to receive 20% of your meal's price donated back to Virginia Restaurant Relief Fund.

Want to add your name to the list? 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. 

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. 

VRLTA Updates moving to three times weekly

Over the last months, VRLTA has worked to bring you critical and relevant news related to COVID-19 and its effects on the hospitality and tourism industries. We hope that you have found these communications useful as you've navigated this "new normal." As we shift to a focus on getting back to business, we'll be continuing to bring you the news you need. Beginning this week, VRLTA will be sending out email updates three times a week - on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We will continue to send action alerts as well as significant news as warranted. We value your feedback and input - send our staff a message if you hav e questions you need answered or news you want to share. In addition, find updated information on our https://www.virginiaisforrestaurantlovers.com website.

VRLTA is here to support you , our members, and others in tourism and hospitality. We can't wait to get Back to Business!