5/1/20 Update
LEAD NEWS: Next Week, May 3-9, is National Travel & Tourism Week

Even though we're not traveling just yet, we're joining with U.S. Travel and Virginia Tourism Corporation in promoting National Travel & Tourism Week (NTTW) next week. This year, the theme is the "Spirit of Travel," and U.S. Travel has put together a video which captures it well.
DMOs and CVBs around the Commonwealth are sharing their plans with us, and, next week, we'll be sharing some of the great things they are doing. Watch for a special NTTW message on Monday and information throughout the week on VRLTA's social media.

Here are some resources available to help you promote this annual tradition:

  • U.S. Travel's NTTW Toolkit - graphics, templates, talking points, creative ideas, and more!
  • Information about VTC's planned efforts around the week
  • Many of you are promoting Takeout Tuesday as part of your NTTW marketing. To connect with the efforts VRLTA and VTC are doing around TakeoutTuesday each week, please use the hashtags #VirginiaEatsLocal, #TakeoutTuesdayVA, and #VirginiaIsForRestaurantLovers on your related posts.

And, to all of you working to promote your area, city, county, or attraction, THANK YOU for the work you do to promote all the amazing places, people, and things about our state.
VRLTA wants to know: WHERE in VA do you wish you were?

We can't wait until we can get back to exploring all those amazing places. We've put together this fun sign you can print out, label, capture in a photo, and post using these hashtags: #wishiwerethereVA #VirginiaisforLovers #SpiritofTravel #LoveVA #VirginiaIsForRestaurantLovers #VRLTA and #nttw20 - maybe you'll be featured next week!

Federal Update

The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday announced it is expanding the scope and eligibility for the Main Street Lending Program. As part of its broad effort to support the economy, the Federal Reserve developed the Main Street Lending Program to help credit flow to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the pandemic.

When the initial terms of Main Street were announced, the Board indicated that, because the financial needs of businesses vary widely, it was seeking feedback from the public on potential refinements. More than 2,200 letters from individuals, businesses, and nonprofits were received. In response to the public input, the Board decided to expand the loan options available to businesses, and increased the maximum size of businesses that are eligible for support under the program. The changes include:

  • Creating a third loan option, with increased risk sharing by lenders for borrowers with greater leverage;
  • Lowering the minimum loan size for certain loans to $500,000; and
  • Expanding the pool of businesses eligible to borrow.

You can read more about it here .
In addition, the IRS recently issued guidance on the Employee Retention Tax Credit program in the form of a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page. You can access this resource here .
State Update

At his press conference today, Governor Northam stated that he will be releasing guidance on Monday regarding how Phase 1 of reopening will be structured. 
VRLTA Restaurant & Hospitality Relief Fund begins distribution of funds to assist workers and businesses

The VRLTA Restaurant & Hospitality Relief Fund has already raised over $25,000 to assist employees and businesses impacted by the pandemic. Thank you to all who have donated! This week, we began connecting with organizations statewide which can get the funds into the hands of workers and businesses. So far, we have supported the following organizations.
Richmond Restaurant Workers Support Fund / Holli Fund  - The Holli Fund offers grants up to $750 each for individuals in the food service industry experiencing an economic crisis. Typically, grant checks will be for rent, transportation, mortgage payments and/or utilities and will be made out to the service provider.
Visit Loudoun Foundation Relief Fund   – Working in tandem with the Community Foundation, the Loudoun Tourism & Hospitality Relief Fund provides grants to two charitable organizations that provide direct financial support for individuals who are working in, or have immediately formerly worked in, Loudoun tourism and hospitality businesses facing hardship.
Sysco/Pale Fire Helps Food Banks  - Pale Fire Helps is a partnership between Pale Fire Brewing Co, Sysco Foods, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, and Digital Minerva. The goal is to help people in the restaurant industry with direct support by supplying food products, free of charge. This concept has grown to include five sites across the state (Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Richmond, and Leesburg) with potential expansion.
Food for Frontline  – WSLS has created the Food for Frontline campaign in the Roanoke area. The Food For Frontline campaign will use 100% of funds raised to buy meals from area restaurants that will be delivered to different groups of frontline workers.
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. 

NRA Announces Extension of FREE ServSafe Training

The ServSafe Food Handler course will continue to be free to added to your ServSafe account until May 31st - and then you'll have up to a year to watch it. The training for precautions for takeout and delivery continue to be free as well. More information here .

Let's end the week with some good news. This week, John Krasinski's Some Good News focused on all the great things happening in the restaurant world .

Lots of good stuff going on in Virginia, too -

Last, just because everyone needs some adorable golden retrievers in their life, check this out.
Continue to visit https://www.virginiaisforrestaurantlovers.com for updated information!