5/4/20 Update
NEXT VRLTA Call - Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 5, 2:00 p.m.
 
Join us for an update call tomorrow, Tuesday, 5/5 at 2:00 p.m.

Dial in information: 202.602.1295, conference ID 789-103-256#
LEAD NEWS: Governor Northam pushes partial reopening back to May 15

At today’s press conference ( see the video here ), the Governor announced an extension of Executive Order 53 through May 14, and an adjustment of the “stay-at-home” (Executive Order 55) order to a “safer-at-home” order. The Governor indicated that on May 15, restaurant dining rooms, campgrounds, theaters, and other businesses may be allowed to enter Phase 1 of the re-opening process (subject to continued improvement in health metrics and guidelines that have not yet been announced for these specific industries) with restrictions. This phase would last about 2-4 weeks.

If public health criteria are met, then Phase 2 will begin that the Governor anticipates would last 2-4 weeks with additional relaxing of restrictions (guidelines will be provided at a later date). If public health criteria continue to be met, then Virginia will enter Phase 3, which the Governor expects is about 10-12 weeks away. At this point there would no longer be capacity limits on restaurants and other businesses.

The special regulations allowing restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages to-go will continue until at least June 10, 2020; however, the Governor is recommending that restaurants be allowed to continue to sell to-go alcohol as long as restaurants are subject to capacity restrictions.
Federal Update
 
The U.S. Treasury Department released new guidance on PPP loan forgiveness provisions. Citing their “de minimis” exemption authority, they advise that an employer will not be penalized with reduced PPP loan forgiveness if an employee rejects an offer to return to their job.
 
The National Restaurant Association is engaging Treasury today seeking guidance on a number of other issues, including:

  • Calculating FTEs during the covered period
  • Using aggregate wages vs average wages in calculating total payroll
  • Treatment of unspent funds and forgiveness of eligible expenses from a PPP loan
  • Payroll computation: cash or accrual basis?

AHLA Releases Industry-Wide Hotel Cleaning Standards Through “Safe Stay” Initiative

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) today introduced Safe Stay, an industry-wide, enhanced standard of health and safety protocols designed to prepare America’s hotels to safely welcome back guests and employees as the economy reopens. Safe Stay represents the top priority for the industry, the health and safety of guests and employees.
 
The standards of Safe Stay were developed under the guidance of an Advisory Council, comprised of industry leaders representing all segments of the hotel industry, and in conjunction with public health experts to advance best practices for protecting against the coronavirus. This initiative represents a new level of focus and transparency for an industry already built on cleanliness. Hotels have always met rigorous standards for cleaning and safety and these enhanced guidelines are rooted in recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
 
“Safe Stay was developed specifically to ensure enhanced safety for hotels guests and employees. While hotels have always employed demanding cleaning standards, this new initiative will ensure greater transparency and confidence throughout the entire hotel experience,” said  Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA.  “The industry’s enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols will continue to evolve to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19.”
 
The “Safe Stay”  guidelines  are intended to be iterative, and will be revised as needed based on the recommendations of public health authorities, in compliance with any federal, state and local laws. They include guidance on employee and guest health, employee responsibilities, cleaning products and protocols, and physical distancing.
 
“While the hotel industry was one of the first affected by the pandemic, we have collectively stepped up to serve their communities during this public health crisis. Thousands of hotels across the country, more than half of those small businesses, are working tirelessly during this uncertain time to support their employees, healthcare workers and first responders. When the time is right, hotels will be ready to safely and eagerly welcome back America’s traveling public,” concluded Rogers.
 
The Safe Stay Advisory Council enhanced guidelines and a toolkit can be found at  www.ahla.com/SafeStay  and a list of the Safe Stay Advisory Council can be seen  here .
National Restaurant Association's Sean Kennedy Interviewed

The NRA's Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, Sean Kennedy, was interviewed on Fox News Sunday, reiterating the industry's concerns with the PPP. Click to watch.
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. 

Continue to visit https://www.virginiaisforrestaurantlovers.com for updated information!