5/15/20 Update
LEAD NEWS: Governor's Update

Today, May 15, 2020, Governor Northam’s Executive Order 61 takes effect. This order allows for easing some of the restrictions in place due to COVID-19. Order 61 allows for “restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms to operate delivery, take-out, and outdoor dining and beverage services only, provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines.” Please refer to and read Order 61 in detail.
If you are in the Northern Virginia Region (Cities of Falls Church, Fairfax, Alexandria, Manassas, Manassas Park, or the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, or Prince William) Accomack County, or the City of Richmond, your reopening process is governed by Executive Order 62 . Pursuant to EO62, your jurisdiction will not enter Phase One of the reopening process until May 29.
If your business would like to expand your outdoor seating, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has provided an expedited method to gain approval with a VDH permit; a requirement of the VDH permit is approval from the locality. Please contact your local jurisdiction to begin the process for obtaining approval to expand your outdoor seating.
With regard to reopening Virginia’s beaches, the Governor indicated that the Department of Natural Resources is working with local officials on guidelines for reopening them. The Governor indicated that he will make an announcement related to beaches on Monday. 
Virginia Restaurant Promise - Poster to print!

VRLTA has worked with the Virginia Department of Health, localities, and restaurants to develop the Virginia Restaurant Promise, a set of commitments to employees and customers. We've put together a poster that restaurants can print out and post. Help spread the word!
Follow the Rules - Comply with EO61 & EO62

Today, EO61 and EO62 take effect. As you know, VRLTA has many reservations with both executive orders, but we also believe that it’s incumbent upon our industry to be good stewards. While we believe that there are fundamental issues with these measures, we urge all hospitality and tourism businesses to comply. We will continue to advocate for changes to these orders, but until those amendments are incorporated, we need to all follow these guidelines.

As Virginia's hospitality and tourism businesses begin to reopen, keep in mind that what you do in your place of business is a reflection on the entire industry. Please make sure that you are following the guidelines laid out by the Governor, the Virginia Department of Health, and your locality. VRLTA is working hard to represent the interests of our members, as well as the overall industry, and our ability to influence policy and make progress with decision-makers will be hampered if businesses are not following "the letter of the law" during the reopening time.

In other states, images and video of businesses not following their governor's guidelines have caused concern among lawmakers and potentially impacted reopening decisions going for ward. Take it slowly now, follow and enforce the rules, and show the Governor and other decision makers that our industry is focused on keeping patrons safe and healthy. Thank you!
Reopening Resources

We continue to post resources related to reopening on our website. Visit this page for the latest reopening resources, and this page for the latest news.

PPE Resources -

  • Sysco - currently in stock: masks, gloves in a variety of sizes, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, surface sanitizers, and bleach - contact your sales rep for the latest product availability and pricing
  • PFG - contact your sales rep for the latest product availability
  • Safeguard Promotional Products - facemasks and shields, hand sanitizer, gloves, gowns, acrylic shields (for checkout stands) - pricing here, or visit https://www.safeguardjack.com/ or contact Anne Meagher Watson at 804.355.2679 or Anne@SafeguardJack.com 
  • KO Distilling is producing Bare Knuckle Hand Sanitizer. More information can be found here.

Other Partner Resources -

  • Ecolab - Has a variety of cleaning and sanitizing products available (list for hospitality and list for foodservice); Contact Carey Friedman at carey.friedman@ecolab.com or 804.840.3943
  • BMS Direct Inc - for printing of restaurant placemats and menus, including washable menus coming soon! VRLTA members get discounted pricing. Visit this link for more information or email leif.aagaard@bmsdirectinc.com for inquiries. 
  • Push Operations - Push Operations is a labor management solution for restaurants. Push is now offering restaurants its employee health pre-screening software. The software allows contactless temperature checks for employees, customizable pre-health check questions to employees, and effortless communication to employees who’ve worked with a team member that has Covid-19. This service is complimentary for VRLTA members! More information: https://pushoperations.com/covid-19-features/ or Tommy Truong at Tommy@pushoperations.com or 778.858.6325.
Local Update

Yesterday, VRLTA sent a letter to the Virginia Municipal League, Virginia Association of Counties, and Virginia Association of Economic Developers. In the letter, we urge localities across Virginia to use federal CARES Act funds that been allocated to them to create COVID-19 business relief grants. You can view the letter here.
Business Support Grants/Loans

We've compiled a robust listing of opportunities - grants, loans, and other support - available to businesses in localities around the state. New or updated this week: information for Fairfax, Rosslyn, and Lynchburg. Visit this page to learn more, and let us know if you have additional resources to share.
Some Fun Tonight at 5 p.m.

Guy Fieri and Bill Murray will go head-to-head in 'Nacho Average Showdown' - an event to benefit the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. You can watch live TONIGHT, May 15 at 5 p.m. on Food Network's Facebook page.

The “Nacho Average Showdown” presented by Tostitos is sure to include off-the-wall humor and friendly banter between Fieri and Murray. Their sons, Hunter Fieri, and Chef & Restaurateur Homer Murray will also do battle to show their dads the secret to making perfect nachos. Each competitor will create his signature nachos for “Showdown” judges Terry Crews and Shaquille O’Neal. Food Network host Carla Hall will emcee the event. Viewers will be encouraged to contribute to RERF via the donate button on  Food Network’s Facebook page . See a video with Fieri here , and read more about the live event here.
Help VTC Understand the Impacts of Coronavirus on your Organization

Help VTC understand the impact on your area, attraction, or organization by filling out this survey: https://sirresearch.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8IbZLmd2ji1snwp
ServSafe offering new, FREE reopening training

ServSafe is committed to helping restaurants with information and training needs related to the coronavirus pandemic. Now that states are moving cautiously toward reopening businesses like restaurants and foodservice operations, they have prepared a free training video outlining the steps restaurant line level employees are encouraged to utilize in returning to full-service operations. Learn more here .

Also, remember, ServSafe has additional free resources related to safe takeout and delivery.
Tom Bené Named as President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association; CEO of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

The National Restaurant Association today announced the appointment of Tom Bené as the Association’s President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and CEO of the Educational Foundation, effective June 1. In this role, Mr. Bené will be responsible for guiding the Association’s strategic path towards its vision for a thriving restaurant and foodservice community, providing America with nourishment, opportunity and joy, while working to enhance quality of life for all. Read the full release here.
Support the VRLTA Restaurant & Hospitality Relief Fund

VRLTA's industry relief fund is aiding workers displaced by the recent restaurant and hospitality industry shutdowns and also helping affected businesses. Over $30,000 has been raised to date!

Donations can be made through VRLTA's website 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 updated information!