Oregon’s lodging industry continues to reel from the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Following the Governor's announcement last week on the prohibition of large gatherings through the end of September, ORLA sent a letter to the Governor's Office seeking clarity so we can do our best to plan for changes in travel demand over the coming months. Read letter.
Local governments in many ways are direct partners of lodging establishments across Oregon. There is a direct correlation between the detrimental economic impacts felt by the lodging sector and the loss of revenue relied upon in normal times for cities and counties to balance their fiscal year budgets.
Given the cascading impact on both the public and private sectors, ORLA is asking for additional clarity and guidance on the following travel related topics:
Together we can accomplish a great deal in providing uniform communication for Oregonians seeking safety and guidance as they embrace a new normal focused on societal responsibility.
[May 18, 2020] - Commitment to Safety
Our state has officially taken steps to reopen portions of our economy previously closed including restaurants and bars in most areas. Announcements this past week from Governor Brown and the official website for all industry guidance documents can be viewed on the state's website. This page will serve as the digital headquarters in the months ahead and assist you in understanding where your county is in the phased reopening process.
It is one thing to have the legal ability to reopen and another thing entirely to instill confidence in the minds of your guests. According to data from Nielsen, about 1 in 5 have returned to on premise dining as outlets continue to reopen on a limited basis. And of those who have not yet returned, nearly half say they need to feel more comfortable visiting.
It is our responsibility at ORLA to make sure hospitality operators have every tool available to them to showcase our industry’s commitment to safety. To that end we are launching comprehensive checklists for both restaurant and lodging operations. These checklists can be utilized by ORLA members as a way to review all details of your operations and earn a Commitment to Safety Seal you can prominently display for both customers and employees.
We want to do everything possible to assist you in finding a path forward. It is going to be a challenge in the months ahead to survive on a fraction of the demand for your business you once enjoyed. We believe this tool can make a significant difference in your path to recovery.
ORLA’s regional representatives are here to help. Please reach out so they can assist you in your work to do everything you can to provide a safe and welcoming environment for your employees and your guests.
Thank you and our best to you and your team as we ramp back up to showcase what it means to serve Oregon hospitality.
[May 8, 2020] – This Week’s Updates
Yesterday, Governor Brown announced plans to begin reopening portions of Oregon’s economy that have remained closed for almost 2 months including dining rooms in bars and restaurants. In order to reopen, county governments must submit their plans to the Governor’s Office for approval. Representatives from the Oregon Health Authority referenced a commitment to a quick turnaround for county plans submitted with the expectation many counties will have the opportunity to reopen previously closed parts of their economies as early as Friday, May 15.
Lodging facilities, which were never closed by statewide order, continue to be devastated by decreases in demand. Due to marketplace dynamics and actions taken by local jurisdictions, regulations across Oregon differ for lodging establishments. Popular leisure travel destinations including Oregon’s north coast and Columbia River Gorge continue to deal with additional restrictions at the local level. Having said that, lodging facilities in general remain open for business travel with others determining plans for reopening after voluntary closures. The American Hotel & Lodging Association has launched the “Safe Stay” initiative to provide guidance to lodging operations moving through reopening procedures. In addition, lodging providers can access final employer guidelines specific to Oregon here. See specific guidance for outdoor recreation organizations here.
Restaurant, bars, breweries, tasting rooms, and distilleries were all given the go ahead to open in Oregon’s Phase One plan. Timelines associated with opening these hospitality businesses will be contingent upon the approval of county plans. Some counties will have their plans reviewed by the Oregon Health Authority as early as today, May 8 which paves the way for a potential May 15 opening. ORLA was successful in advocating for the removal of an initial plan to have foodservice operators document the movements of their customers. In addition, there was agreement to remove the percentage space requirement emerging in many states which caps capacity at levels from 25 to 50% of maximum occupancy. In Oregon, there is no such requirement. Operators will be required to ensure physical distance of 6 feet between associated parties of 10 or less. You can view the final guidance for Oregon’s foodservice and beverage industry here. Arbitrary restrictions including a 10pm cutoff for dining room services in Phase One as well as partial opening of barstools/bar seating in specific scenarios continue to be industry concerns we hope to address in Phase Two guidelines.
There is a great deal left to accomplish. In the coming weeks, we will be:
If you haven’t already, make sure we have the best email address for you as an industry operator. In addition, you can sign up for ORLA text message alerts (by texting ORLA to 52886) so you have the intelligence we gather in real time.
[May 1, 2020] - This Week's Updates
[April 30, 2020] - Making Progress Towards Reopening, More to Be Done
Friends of Oregon Hospitality -
Throughout the month of April, ORLA has been focused on building momentum for industry relief efforts. We have made some progress on behalf of the hospitality industry, but more needs to be accomplished. We have also been focused on sharing your stories for Oregonians to better understand the devastating impacts of an Oregon economic shutdown and how it is felt in all corners of our state, particularly for those in the restaurants and lodging industries.
It is time to switch gears. According to the latest data from the Oregon Health Authority, we are successfully flattening the curve. And in many areas of Oregon, there is no curve to flatten.
In our last video address, we emphasized the importance of creating a framework for reopening Oregon’s hospitality industry. Trends are pointing toward reopening dining rooms, counter service operations, bars, and tasting rooms as part of a Phase One plan in Oregon. The opening of lodging operations beyond essential worker travel is also possible in Phase Two.
We want to thank the hospitality businesses across the state that have shared their recovery plans with us. Those plans have helped us to provide the industry expertise needed to push for practical reopening guidelines for that are as safe as possible for employees and customers.
In our latest communication, we outlined four industry imperatives for Governor Brown and her professional staff:
Please take a moment to view our comments in their entirety on the “COVID-19 Alerts & Resources” page. As we continue to work with the Governor’s office to develop these protocols, we will share information as soon as it becomes available to better help you and your teams prepare for this unprecedented reopening phase.
The coming weeks will prove crucial. Let’s work together to better understand the benchmarks we must meet to instill confidence in Oregonians that we have the health care capacity we need to meet demand and protect the health and safety of Oregonians, while getting serious about reopening our economy in a safe and responsible way.
[April 17, 2020] - Latest Reopening Plans from Governor's Office
Earlier today the Governor’s Chief of Staff Nik Blosser walked us through the slide deck on what an Oregon reopening framework looks like. Click the button to view the latest version (v.4) of the Public Health Framework for Restarting Public Life and Business:
The following our my takeaways from the presentation:
As a reminder, consider participating in one of our upcoming Virtual Town Halls.
[April 8, 2020]
Yesterday, Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 20-14 aligning Oregon’s current dine-in prohibition with thousands of other closed businesses across the state under Oregon’s ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ order. Drive through, takeout, and delivery services remain optional for restaurants interested in operating at limited capacities. Lodging operations remain open in some cases to serve accommodation needs related to COVID-19 orders issued by Brown.
Oregon has clearly been successful in flattening the curve and that is a testament to our health care industry and the work which continues across our state. I have found this resource to be more helpful than most in tracking the peaks of Covid-19 on a case by case basis across the country:
In utilizing this tool for Oregon, modeling suggests our state will experience peak demand for health care services on April 24. If you start randomly choosing other states through the tool you will find that the economically painful mitigation efforts Oregon has taken have directly helped save lives.
In reviewing the data, it seems Oregon will be better positioned than most states to continue the crucial conversation of what relaxing social distancing policies looks like. How do we turn the corner for Oregon’s hospitality businesses and our approximately 200,000 employees? What does rebuild look like and over what duration?
ORLA is committed to leading alongside other business organizations in making sure the State of Oregon relaxes social distancing policies in line with a data driven approach. If the above projection holds true, Oregon should be positioned to gradually relax some restrictions as early as May. And we certainly hope that will be the case.
It is on all of us to demonstrate how we can hold the line on Oregon’s current peak projection and continue the sacrifices we are all making as we move through COVID-19 case decline later this month. When the data forecasts showcase a reduction in second wave risk, we need to move quickly to get Oregon in a position to rebuild. I believe this state can be a leader in that race. If you have ideas of how full proof social distancing procedures could be implemented in your business, please share your thoughts with me via email, email@example.com.
[April 1, 2020]
Today, Governor Kate Brown announced a 90-day moratorium on commercial evictions across Oregon. Executive Order 20-13 represents decisive action by Governor Brown to protect Oregon hospitality businesses and assist them in planning out a path to recovery. Our goal in working with all partners is to do whatever we can to assist our state in winning the race to recovery while keeping as many Oregonians employed as possible.
Governor Brown’s executive order states “a temporary moratorium on terminations of residential and nonresidential rental agreements and evictions on the basis of nonpayment is necessary during this emergency, to protect the public health, safety and welfare of all Oregonians. The moratorium set forth in this Executive Order is temporary, with a limited scope and duration. It addresses the immediate needs identified above, pursuant to my emergency powers, but does not otherwise undermine contractual bargains, interfere with parties' reasonable expectations, or prevent parties from safeguarding or reinstating their rights. The directives of this Executive Order are appropriate, necessary, and reasonable means by which to implement the significant and legitimate public purpose of responding to the declaration of a state of emergency I issued on March 8, 2020.”
ORLA continues to advocate for ongoing relief in partnership with federal, state, and local elected leaders. To view ORLA’s relief framework and add your business to the list of supporters click here: Sign On to ORLA's Proposed Relief Efforts.
[March 30, 2020]
In this morning's video address to the industry, I cover the following updates:
In case you missed it, ORLA created a Hospitality Action & Relief Center to help connect small businesses and their employees with ongoing statewide advocacy priorities and relief outcomes. Be sure to see the list of Relief Available for Employers & Employees we are constantly updating, as well as ORLA's Proposed Relief Efforts.
With the passage of the CARES Act, signed into law March 27, new relief opportunities are now available including: Paycheck Protection Program, Employee Retention Tax Credit, Qualified Improvement Property fix, and SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Grants. Read more on our Federal Action Taken page.
[March 26, 2020]
The following update is being provided to the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association as a result of ongoing national partnerships taking place between the National Restaurant Association, American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association. A special thanks to Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at the National Restaurant Association for the following summary on our nation’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”):
Last night, congressional leaders finally released the final text of their $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package. The agreement includes a dramatic expansion of unemployment insurance, a rescue fund for state and local governments, immediate cash for hospitals, and a huge pool of grants and loans for small businesses.
Passage in both chambers is all but assured – the only question is one of timing. The Senate is on a path to pass the bill this evening. Timing of a House bill remains murky. A vote Thursday night or Friday morning is likely. President Trump is likely to sign the bill very soon thereafter.
Our formal assessment of the bill is attached. Overall the bill is very strong, with many provisions that specifically reflect our Association’s asks from last week. Here are the highlights of the deal:
The measure creates a $349 billion program for the SBA to offer unique loans to small businesses (500 or fewer employees). The loan amount is based on 250% of the borrower’s average monthly payroll cost for the preceding year (provisions for seasonal employers are included), up to $10 million. Collateral requirements are waived, and the “credit elsewhere” requirements (which have slowed down the process) have been waived as well. The loan is forgiven if used for payroll costs, mortgage interest, or rent/utilities.
The agreement offers restaurant owners relief in the form of Net Operating Loss (NOL) carrybacks, delay of payment of employer payroll taxes, and an Employee Retention Tax Credit.
Qualified Improvement Property
At long last, restaurants can immediately write off costs associated with improving facilities. The QIP fix is complete.
[March 25, 2020] - To Friends of Oregon Hospitality,
The following update was provided by our friends at the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the National Restaurant Association. Democratic Leader Schumer released a letter to his colleagues identifying what was secured in the bill. A summary of Democratic Leader Schumer’s list is below and ORLA will be working closely with our national partners today and tomorrow as the federal package moves through crucial votes and gets finalized.
President & CEO
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
[March 23, 2020] - Hello Friends of Oregon Hospitality:
Today, Governor Kate Brown executed Executive Order 20-12 which requires non-essential businesses outlined in the order to close effective 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 24. Here are comments from ORLA regarding the new executive order and what it means for Oregon’s restaurant and lodging operations:
President & CEO
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
[March 20, 2020] - ORLA continues to take unprecedented steps to engage in every possible way on COVID-19 in support of Oregon Hospitality. In the last 36 hours, significant updates have been added online to ORLA’s website which has been redesigned to hone in on the needs of industry members looking for answers in an ever changing environment.
The following steps have been taken in the past 36 hours:
President & CEO
[March 18, 2020] - ORLA CEO UPDATE FOR OREGON'S HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
The ORLA team is working at a feverish pitch to provide the resources and opportunities restaurant and lodging businesses need to stay engaged and make a difference as we weather this monumental storm together. We have a laser-like focus on all things COVID-19 in service to you, our hospitality industry partners. Please see below for high level updates from our recent activities over the past day as we continue moving through an unprecedented workload:
Please stay strong and utilize the skill sets available to you on the ORLA professional staff. Our Government Affairs Team and our Regional Representatives on the ground are here to serve each of you, every day, until we get through this together.
President & CEO
[March 16, 2020] - STATEMENT BY ORLA PRESIDENT & CEO JASON BRANDT
Restaurants across Oregon serve as cornerstones of our local economies employing more than 155,000 people. From urban centers to rural towns, thousands of establishments provide us with places to break bread with family, friends, and build community.
Most of us know the experience of a favorite local restaurant, filled with familiar faces and employees who know us by name. Right now, that restaurant is hurting -- and the workers and families who depend on our patronage are wondering how they will put food on the table.
Effective midnight tonight (at 12:01 a.m., March 17, 2020), Governor Brown has ordered all dining rooms across Oregon to close over a 4 week period. This decision will have immediate and immeasurable impacts on thousands of Oregon families who depend on Oregon’s restaurant industry for a paycheck. Immediate unemployment insurance relief is crucial with a removal of the one-week waiting period and removal of the search for work requirement. Additional relief needs will also prove crucial for Oregon’s broader hospitality industry and all impacted employees.
The social distancing required to slow the spread of COVID-19 means we need to temporarily change our lives, especially around our favorite gathering spaces as recently announced by Oregon Governor Kate Brown and many health experts from around the world. Oregonians must not forget about the families and workers whose lives depend on restaurants, bars, wineries and brewpubs during this time. They need our support, and that is why our industry is mobilizing to expand take-out and delivery options to serve our customers over the coming weeks. If we can't eat out, now is the time for Oregonians to order in.
We must stay resolved and committed to the important role of hospitality to our economy, culture and everyday lives. Once these social isolation measures lift, Oregonians all share a collective responsibility to do our part to quickly return to our favorite gathering spots and put paychecks back onto the kitchen tables of hundreds of thousands of Oregon families who may not get one over the coming months.
[March 12, 2020] - ORLA CEO UPDATE FOR OREGON'S HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) exists to protect, improve, and promote Oregon hospitality. We find ourselves in an incredibly challenging situation as our industry works to mitigate panic around the growing concern of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Oregon and throughout the country.
As of last night, Governor Kate Brown has declared a ban on gatherings of 250 people or more in Oregon over the course of the next 4 weeks. This will undoubtedly have an immeasurable impact on industry employees and business operations. ORLA will continue to keep lines of communication open with the Governor’s office, the Oregon Health Authority, and other key leaders in our state as we work to gather data on the economic impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat is having and as we seek relief for impacted hospitality employees and businesses.
The following list summarizes work being conducted at ORLA on your behalf. Please save this email for reference and share as needed.
All hospitality businesses in Oregon have access to ORLA’s coronavirus resource page at OregonRLA.org/covid19. The following site represents our digital headquarters for all resource links, employer tips, safety guidelines, and decontamination services. This site will be updated regularly as we continue responding to industry needs in partnership with the National Restaurant Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association.
ORLA’s Online Member Portal
Additional work is being put into document development for ORLA members beyond the resource page linked above. A member login and password for this section is required. Primary documents behind ORLA’s member wall in the Resource Library include template examples members can use as a starting point for how to communicate with both employees and customers. If you need access to your ORLA User Name and Password, please reach out directly to Jennifer Starr via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocacy on behalf of Oregon Hospitality
Your statewide association is working to make sure key elected officials understand the economic impact of decisions being made as they work in partnership with public health officials to manage the spread of the coronavirus. A term called ‘flattening the curve’ is the ultimate goal of elected leaders and public health officials. The term represents an effort to keep demand for coronavirus health care services at or below the capacity of our state’s health care system. The short term effect will directly correlate to economic loss and as such, we need to collect data now to best represent relief needs of the industry in association with our national partners. Please stay tuned as ORLA develops ongoing survey outreach in an effort to track the magnitude of the impact so we can best represent the needs of your business and your employees.
In addition, we are asking the Governor’s office for consideration against any travel bans in Oregon as well as relief for Oregon hospitality employers and employees. Focus areas for us to date include:
Stay Up To Date with Push Notifications
The situation relating to coronavirus is changing on a daily basis. As a result, we are repurposing our mobile push notifications in the short term for coronavirus updates including actions you can take to assist us at ORLA in representing your interests. Text “ORLA” to 52886 to get signed up as we work to gather economic data on industry impact and keep you apprised of the latest developments. Confidentiality relating to any data shared will be a top priority for us.
I’ll close by saying it continues to be an honor for those of us on ORLA’s professional staff to serve Oregon hospitality. We believe in the importance of integrity and transparency in all that we do and you have our commitment to continue walking alongside each of you as we collectively navigate our current challenges and those that we will face together in the future.
President & CEO
Oregon Hospitality Foundation teams with Theatrical-At-Home to present unique fundraiser Takeout & A Movie May 8-12, 2020
Proceeds benefit restaurants who are serving our frontline heroes and to those experiencing food insecurity
Across Oregon (April 29, 2020) – The Oregon Hospitality Foundation announced it will team with Theatrical-At-Home to create a virtual watch party and fundraising event, Takeout & A Movie. The event, Saturday, May 9th, 2020 starts with streaming of the Oregon-made film, PHOENIX OREGON, at 5:00 pm followed by a live Q&A with its cast and crew at 7:00 pm. For those who are unable to attend May 9th, streaming access is available through May 17.
All virtual movie ticket sales will be generously split with the Oregon Hospitality Foundation who will distribute 100% of their proceeds to Oregon restaurants who are feeding our frontline heroes and those with food insecurity. The Foundation is contributing $10,000 of its own funds to this effort.
“We see multiple benefits that include creating a special occasion to share this inspiring and humorous movie with family and friends, supporting community restaurants via takeout, providing funding for restaurants who are doing philanthropic work, and giving financial support to local filmmakers,” said Wendy Popkin, Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation.
Lundgren’s PHOENIX, OREGON is about two friends, a graphic novelist and a chef, who defy a midlife haze by seizing an unlikely opportunity to reinvent their lives by quitting their jobs to restore an old bowling alley and serve the “world's greatest pizza.” For foodies and those who just enjoy dining out, “Chef Carlos” poignantly portrays the passion that chefs have for food and their desire to create a community around their table. For all of us who need a boost during this uncertain time, the story of how the two find the courage and resilience to take new risks and keep their dreams alive is encouraging, as well as humorous. The timing of the film’s release is uncanny as an analogy to the phrase “rising like a Phoenix from the ashes.”
The film stars an impressive lineup of indie film stalwarts and comedy favorites including James Le Gros (DRUGSTORE COWBOY, LIVING IN OBLIVION), Lisa Edelstein (“House”), Jesse Borrego (“Fame,” BLOOD IN BLOOD OUT), Reynaldo Gallegos (AMERICAN SNIPER), Diedrich Bader (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, OFFICE SPACE, “Veep”), and Kevin Corrigan (THE DEPARTED, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, TRUE ROMANCE).
All ticket purchases will receive a one-time link to watch the movie at home as well as a free digital copy upon its official release this summer.
"The lead character is modeled after a friend of ours, a passionate chef and pizzeria entrepreneur. We see how hard he works to create great cuisine and give back to his community every day,” said PHOENIX, OREGON producer Annie Lundgren. “Especially at this time, we are excited to partner with the Oregon Hospitality Foundation to support restaurants in our local community and across the state."
Restaurants across Oregon were forced to close their dining rooms due to COVID-19 on March 17th, 2020. Since then, we have seen an 83% decline in sales from April 1-April 10, 2020, forcing industry to layoff an estimated 81% of its employees. Despite these staggering losses, there are many who are struggling to survive on takeout/delivery/drive-through alone and yet are still striving to serve those in need.
To purchase a ticket, go to https://phoenixoregonmovie.com/takeout, and join the social conversations at #TakeoutAndAMovie #HospitalityHelpFund.org.
PHOENIX, OREGON is released by Aspiration Entertainment in association with Ryan Bruce Levey Film Distribution and was produced by Joma Films with Pied Piper Productions, Lui-G Films, and Sunset Dynamics.
ABOUT THE OREGON HOSPITALITY FOUNDATION
The Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) serves Oregon’s hospitality industry through philanthropic as well as education and training leadership that supports the vitality of tourism’s significant contribution to the state’s economy. OHF was formed in 1992 as a 501c3 nonprofit and was formerly called the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation.
For more about Takeout & A Movie go to www.HospitalityHelpFund.org, and about the Foundation go to www.OregonHospitalityFoundaton
For press inquiries, please contact:
Wendy Popkin, Executive Director, Oregon Hospitality Foundation at WPopkin@OregonRLA.org or 503.331.7528
For the “Phoenix, Oregon” team, please direct interview requests to Allen Media Strategies, Burke Allen at 703.589.8960 or Burke@allenmediastrategies.com
ORLA Proposes Relief Package to Help Restaurants Save Jobs, Plan for Recovery
WILSONVILLE, OR (April 23, 2020) – No other industry has suffered more employment or sales losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic than the restaurant and hospitality industry. According to a new national survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, ninety-four percent of Oregon restaurant operators say they have laid off or furloughed employees since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in March. Across the nation, more than 8 million restaurant employees have been laid off or furloughed – about 2 out of every 3 restaurant employees.
“The restaurant industry and its employees have been significantly impacted by this pandemic,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA). “Restaurant owners have said existing state and federal relief programs will not enable them to keep their employees on payroll throughout the downturn. We’re calling on our elected leaders to take more action to save jobs and get the industry on track for recovery.”
Oregon findings from the survey include:
ORLA has assembled a list of proposed relief efforts for the Governor and the Legislature to take action on and start the long process of recovery for the restaurant and lodging industry. To date, over 255 Oregon hospitality businesses have signed on to show solidarity for the industry and urge lawmakers into action.
The National Restaurant Association conducted the survey from April 10-16 of more than 6,500 restaurant operators nationwide (owners/operators of eating and drinking places, which employ 12 million out of the total restaurant and foodservice workforce of 15.6 million).
Armed with this new research, the National Restaurant Association has a clearer picture of the severe challenges that lie ahead and has asked Congress for a focused solution on behalf of an industry that has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus mandates. The association submitted a restaurant industry "Blueprint for Recovery" that outlines how Congress can improve the outlook for our survival.
Visit OregonRLA.org to read ORLA’s Proposed Relief Efforts for Oregon’s hospitality industry and access the latest information and resources related to COVID-19.
April 20, 20 - Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) submitted a letter of opposition (below) to Lane County on the proposed Ordinance 20-03, requiring Lane County lodgers to accept government vouchers or payment during an emergency. ORLA believes the proposed ordinance is unnecessary and is urging Commissioners not to pass Ordinance 20-03 and work together on solutions that already exist.
We encourage lodging operators in Lane County to to submit comments on this proposal prior to the public hearing.
We want to hear from you! ORLA has transitioned our regional meetings into Virtual Town Halls.
The purpose of this next round of meetings is to provide you with a summary of the latest industry intelligence from the Governor’s Office, as well as from state and local leaders on phase one of reopening Oregon’s businesses. We will review Public Health Guidelines, best practices, ORLA resources, and brainstorming strategies about what it looks like to start opening up Oregon’s economy again.
If you are interested in participating, please RSVP by emailing the Representatives below and include any questions or comments you would like considered as part of the conversation.
Upcoming Virtual Town Hall Meetings:
Wednesday, May 13 – 9:30-10:30 am
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Wednesday, May 13 – 3:00-4:00 pm
So. Oregon, South Coast
RSVP to Terry Hopkins
Recent Virtual Town Hall Meetings:
Wednesday, April 22 – 9:30-10:30 am
Washington / Columbia / Yamhill Counties
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
Wednesday, April 22 – 1:30-2:30 pm
Baker City / Eastern Oregon
RSVP to Steve Scardina
Thursday, April 23 – 11:00 am-12:00 pm
RSVP to Steve Scardina
Thursday, April 23 – 2:45-3:45 pm
Coos, Curry, Douglas, Deschutes, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, and Lane Counties
RSVP to Terry Hopkins
Friday, April 24 – 9:30-10:30 am
Benton / Linn Counties
RSVP to Greg Staneruck
If you missed a town hall and would like to watch/listen to the recording, please contact Glenda Hamstreet at GHamstreet@OregonRLA.org.
Free Professional Development and Food Safety Courses Offered by the Restaurant and Lodging Industry and Scholarships for Continuing Education
Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind as its effects are being felt around the world. We are all concerned for the health and safety of our families, friends, and colleagues.
While positions in hospitality, like many industries, may be currently unavailable for employment, ours is one that that is known for its particular resilience. When it is once again safe, we believe that there will be pent up desire to travel and to dine out. These desires will create a need to hire skilled employees who can ‘hit the ground running’ and can fully participate in the evolving business models that are being created.
The American Hotel & Lodging Foundation (AHLA Foundation) and the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) are both offering complimentary access to several food safety and professional development online courses detailed below. The intent is to help support hospitality employees who are finding themselves at home with time to invest in their education, but who are lacking the funds to do so. Courses are focused on the foodservice and hotel industries.
Scholarships are also being offered to hotel industry employees to help them pay for AHLA certifications that are not being offered for free and/or to pursue education goals such as earning a GED.
Questions about eligibility:
Q: Who is eligible to take each of the free courses offered?
A: Anyone who would like to take these courses may take them!
Q: Is there a limit to the number of courses someone can take from each entity?
A: There are no limits to how many courses someone may take.
Q: Who is eligible for a scholarship offered by the American Hotel & Lodging Foundation?
A: Please see the two different types of scholarships, and the qualifications for each, below.
More information about free training and scholarships can be found here: OregonRLA.org/freetraining.
We are proud to be partners in an industry that is seeking to take care of our furloughed employees in many ways, including this offer. We appreciate you sharing with anyone who can spread the word to individuals who can benefit.
Wendy Popkin, Executive Director
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation
March 18, 2020
Contact: Glenda Hamstreet, Executive Coordinator
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association responds to COVID-19 impacts on restaurant and lodging industries
Wilsonville, OR. – In light of increasing concerns around the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and recent executive orders from the Governor’s office, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) is making every effort to address challenges facing the restaurant and lodging industry.
The lodging and foodservice industry is the second largest private-sector industry in Oregon behind healthcare and is one of the hardest hit by coronavirus-related shutdowns and policies. ORLA represents approximately 2,600 members, including over 10,220 foodservice locations and more than 2,000 lodging establishments in Oregon.
“The social distancing mandates put into place by the Governor are an important step toward ensuring the health and safety of all Oregonians,” ORLA President and CEO Jason Brandt said. “However, we cannot forget about the many families and workers whose lives depend on restaurants, lodging operations, bars, wineries and brewpubs. The foodservice and lodging industries are already seeing unprecedented numbers of layoffs as restaurants temporarily close their doors and hotels see significant declines in occupancy.”
ORLA is encouraging Oregonians to support local restaurants and hotels by ordering takeout or delivery or by purchasing gift certificates.
“Now is the time for our state to support local restaurants and hotels. If we can’t eat out, now is the time to eat in,” said Brandt. “Our industry is resilient and will get through these trying times, but we will need the help of our customers and state and local officials to do so. When purchasing gift certificates for hotels and restaurants, make sure the cash from your purchase is being received immediately by the business so they can save as many jobs as possible.”
For many restaurants, the only viable option following the Governor’s executive order was to temporarily close and lay off staff. ORLA is making every effort at this time to ensure workers and restaurant owners have the relief they need to protect jobs and ensure they are able to re-open their doors once the COVID-19 restrictions have passed.
“Our entire team at ORLA is working around the clock with state and local officials to facilitate job protection and business continuity. We have open lines of communication with the Governor’s office, the City of Portland and other public officials to work toward solutions that will mitigate the economic impacts the industry is facing at this time,” said Brandt.
In the past two days, Brandt has participated as an active member of the Governor’s Coronavirus Economic Advisory Council and presented comprehensive testimony alongside Director of Government Affairs Greg Astley to the Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response.
Media can obtain a copy of the comprehensive report here: COVID-19 Economic Impact on Oregon Hospitality Industry
Over the last month, hotels have seen steep declines in occupancy as events are cancelled and guests are cancelling travel plans. Travel in the Portland area is reported to be down 50% already in March and one hotel in Bend reported a loss of $600,000 in one week this month.
“If lock downs and shelter in place are put in effect, it is important the Governor, City Officials and the Legislature look at hotels as ‘Essential Services’ for planning purposes,” said Brandt. “People who are traveling or stranded will need accommodations.”
Nationally, COVID-19 is expected to result in a loss of 2.8-3.4 million jobs in the hotel industry and a decline to 25% occupancy nationwide. By comparison, the recession of 2001 and 9/11 saw 400,000 jobs lost and a decline to 59% occupancy, while the recession of ’07-’09 saw 470,000 jobs lost and 54% occupancy.
“Everyone in the hospitality industry is struggling right now. Many hotels and restaurants are having to lay off employees due to a loss of business. It is vital that federal, state and local authorities make every effort to protect those who depend on the industry for their livelihood. The need for a collective sense of urgency in driving relief solutions for small businesses and employees cannot be overstated,” said Brandt.
ORLA will continue to provide comprehensive updates and resources for the restaurant and lodging industries on their website through the duration of the pandemic: https://www.oregonrla.org/covid19_info.html.
WASHINGTON, DC – March 4, 2020 – Elephants Delicatessen received the Restaurant Neighbor Award for committing to community service and sustainability in the restaurant industry.
The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) honored Elephants Delicatessen during a special VIP dinner in Washington, D.C., where Elephants Delicatessen shared their story of giving back to the community and being a good neighbor to the planet.
“We’re proud of the incredible stories we can tell each year through our Restaurant Industry Awards – stories of those reflect the inclusiveness and generosity of the hospitality industry,” said Rob Gifford, president of the NRAEF. “The Foundation is thrilled and honored to recognize the people and the businesses that demonstrate why the restaurant industry is full of limitless opportunity.”
The NRAEF’s Restaurant Neighbor Award (RNA), developed in partnership with American Express, highlights outstanding local and national charitable service and philanthropy. RNA winners receive a $10,000 contribution in their name to support the charitable organization or program of their choice.
Elephants Delicatessen is an eight-unit restaurant chain dedicated to sustainability, managing food waste and supporting local nonprofits with daily donations and volunteering. The company donates approximately 95 percent of their leftover fresh food items. Elephants Deli became a Certified B Corporation in 2015, a designation for businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. (watch video)
Each winner was selected from a pool of hundreds of nominations. Their incredible stories of overcoming personal challenges, achieving their dreams and giving back to the community were shared with industry icons and the broader restaurant and foodservice industry.
For the full list of winners, visit ChooseRestaurants.org.
About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts.
Nine Schools Competed in Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation’s Statewide Competition Showcasing the Hospitality Industry’s Future Chefs
[March 2, 2020 - Salem, Oregon] – The challenge for the student chef teams was to prepare a three-course gourmet meal with only two butane burners in under an hour. Willamette High School pulled this off with excellence, winning top honors in the culinary competition at the ORLAEF ProStart Invitational, sponsored by Sysco. McMinnville High School took first in the management competition and also swept the category awards. The event was hosted by the Education Foundation of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLAEF) on March 2, 2020 in Salem, Oregon.
“It is with great pleasure Sysco Portland is once again proud to be the leading sponsor of the ProStart program. These young culinarians from our state are building skills that are foundational to their careers in the hospitality industry,” said Bobbie McDonald, Sysco Portland, title sponsor.
ProStart, one of the nation’s largest industry-supported career and technical education (CTE) programs, teaches high school students culinary and management skills needed by restaurant, hospitality and foodservice employers. Focused on culinary techniques and restaurant management skills, this competency-based curriculum also includes real-life restaurant experiences. The ORLAEF ProStart Invitational is the capstone of this two-year program, providing a public opportunity for students to showcase what they have learned.
Final results for the culinary competition:
Final results for the management competition:
Culinary Category Awards:
Management Category Awards:
ORLAEF ProStart Invitational Awards:
“The atmosphere at this event was electric,” said Wendy Popkin, executive director of ORLAEF. “The ProStart program does a remarkable job preparing high school students with fundamental skills such as communication, teamwork, time management and professionalism needed to enter the workforce.”
Willamette High School’s winning menu included Cheese and Herb Agnolotti, Seared Halibut Blackberry Beurre Rouge, and Creme Caramel en Cage.
The teams from Willamette High School and McMinnville High School will head to the 2020 National ProStart Invitational® May 8-10, 2020, in Washington, D.C. These Oregon champions also receive a share of over $570,000 scholarships and prizes from local and national culinary schools to help further their careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry.
Currently 33 Oregon schools, with more than 3,869 students, participate in the ProStart training program. Internationally, ProStart includes 150,000 students in 1,900 schools and technical centers across the United States, and in Guam and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and the Pacific.
Visit OregonRLA.org/championships more information and photos from the ORLAEF ProStart Invitational.
[THIS PAGE HAS MOVED: COVID-19 INFO & RESOURCES]
ORLA is continually monitoring and working on behalf of Oregon's hospitality industry to provide information and resources to help mitigate the negative impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19). With the fluid nature of this situation, ORLA intends to keep hospitality industry members informed by updating this resource page, emailing alerts, and updating the Message from the CEO.
In addition, to receive push notifications with coronavirus updates including actions you can take to assist us at ORLA in representing your interests, text “ORLA” to 52886 and get signed up today.
[3.16.20 - State of Oregon] Governor Kate Brown announced in a press conference today she is closing restaurants and bars across the state and banning gatherings of more than 25 people to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Read the Governor's Executive Order NO. 20-07 relating to prohibition on on-premises consumption of food and drink and prohibition of gatherings of 25 people or more.
[3.14.20 - Secretary of State] Secretary of State Bev Clarno and Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle sent out a bulletin outlining state laws that protect both workers and businesses concerning coronavirus. Read Employer Alert: Guidance for employers on coronavirus
[3.13.20 - BOLI] BOLI Commissioner Val Hoyle agrees that the Governor declaring a state of emergency triggers the exemption for predictive scheduling and will act accordingly. Employers need to show a good faith effort in communicating with employees as soon as possible the scheduling challenges they are facing. Read BOLI's statement here.
[3.13.20 - USDOL] The U.S. Labor Department announced new guidance whereby federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws in administering their unemployment insurance (UI) programs in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. Read the announcement.
[3.12.20 - SBA] Announcement: SBA to Provide Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)
[3.12.20 - State of Oregon] The Office of the Governor issued the following, Updated Mitigation Measures on Coronavirus Response: "All large gatherings over 250 people are canceled statewide, effectively immediately, for four weeks (through April 8, 2020)."
[3.10.20 - Oregon Health Authority] The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has adopted temporary rules to exclude individuals with COVID-19 from attending or working in schools and children’s facilities, or from working in health care facilities or food service facilities (OAR 333-019-1000); see temporary administrative order. These temporary rules are effective March 9, 2020 through September 4, 2020.
TIPS FOR EMPLOYERS
INFORMATION & RESOURCES
CDC and Oregon Health Authority
RESTAURANT INFORMATION, National Restaurant Association and Partners
LODGING INFORMATION, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Partners
Small Business Association and Oregon Business Community
Other Resource for Employers
For more information on Oregon hospitality industry’s ongoing food safety training and certification programs, click here.
ORLAEF ProStart Invitational Resources
The 2020 ProStart Invitational is set for Monday, March 2, 2020, at the Salem Convention Center. Here you can download useful forms, templates and documents related to the event:
Are you interested in transitioning to a CTE culinary program? ProStart® curriculum, hands on training, and experiences benefit your students as they learn how to choose items and make creative menus based on nutrition and budget, utilize safe sanitation techniques, and discover and practice important job readiness and ‘soft skills.’ These skills include communication, teamwork and decision-making, all while learning about the multiple high opportunity / high wage careers the food service industry offers.
“Foundations of Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts” was developed by subject-matter experts and is published by the NRAEF. The two levels of the curriculum – Level One and Level Two – are not designed to be sequential; this makes it possible for small schools with limited resources to offer the ProStart program to students. Learn about new curriculum and teacher resources at Textbooks.restaurant.org.
To order ProStart® curriculum for your school, contact Irina Bakun at 971.224.1515.
ProStart® prepares you to explore a wide range of career opportunities. Careers in nutrition, hospitality management, viticulture, product development, agriculture, culinary arts and customer service are just a few of the options for ProStart® students.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation (ORLAEF) and the National Restaurant Association are proud to offer Oregon ProStart seniors a scholarship opportunity in support of post secondary education.
Guest Service Gold Scholarships for Students
NRAEF has funded a limited number of free scholarships, value at $30, for students to earn an internationally accredited CTE-recognized certification, Certified Guest Service Professional, using a curriculum with real Oregon employees and their stories of customer challenges. More than 800 Oregon industry professionals have been certified since the program’s launch. Contact Sue Smith at 800.462.0619 for scholarship codes.
National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) Scholarships
Students, military servicemen and women and others can now apply for scholarship awards to pursue their dreams of becoming future leaders of the restaurant and foodservice industry. Awards range from $2,500 to $10,000 and can be used towards tuition and fees, books, room and board and other school-related expenses. The scholarships have no age restrictions. Individuals can apply at any age, whether they're recent high-school graduates or adults looking to make a career change. Learn more and apply.
View more information on Culinary Scholarships.
Industry-Related Programs and Courses
These facilities offer skills-based education for those looking to gain proficiencies to help them enter the hospitality industry as well as programs geared to those already employed who want to add credentials to their experience. See list of schools on ORLAEF's page.
Try a new and simple tool to explore a broad selection of restaurant and foodservice positions and chart a course that matches your skills with your career goals. Explore the tool.
Learn more about how ORLAEF partners with the industry to provide workforce development solutions.
Rewarding Opportunities That Support Our Industry, Workforce
“Little did I know my culinary arts elective teacher... would be responsible for my graduating high school with honors, signing with my Division 1 dream team and being the first in my family to attend a four-year university…” - South Salem ProStart Student, Teacher Nomination 2019
Philanthropy takes many forms. Sometimes you can easily see the impact of giving, like when someone who was cold walks away with a smile and a bit more energy after putting on a donated coat. Sometimes, however, you never really know how your actions and engagement may have a positive influence on someone, perhaps for a lifetime.
Students who lack confidence and/or direction, as well as adults with socio-economic challenges seeking tools to help them become more self-dependent and stable, often thrive when positive role models and experiential learning are integrated with school and training programs. Interactions and reinforcements can also result in employment recruitment opportunities. When that happens with an industry partner who engages with our programs it represents the perfect wrap-around to the ORLA Education Foundation’s mission.
Why Do You Support ORLAEF’s Work?
How Can You Get Involved?
“Philanthropy means the love of humanity. A conventional modern definition is, ‘private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life.’ Philanthropy has distinguishing characteristics separate from charity; A difference commonly cited is that charity aims to relieve the pain of a particular social problem, whereas philanthropy attempts to address the root cause of the problem—the difference between the proverbial gift of a fish to a hungry person, versus teaching them how to fish.” - Wikipedia
Please join us in our efforts to teach others how to fish, via supporting your foundation’s programs that aim to provide opportunities for rewarding jobs that help individuals create stable and fulfilling lives. Contact me via email or 971.224.1105. | Wendy Popkin, ORLAEF
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director for ORLA’s Education Foundation (ORLAEF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the educational and training needs of the hospitality industry. Wendy is a 30+-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.” OregonRLA.org/EdFoundation
There were several new statewide laws passed in the 2019 Oregon Legislative Session that went into effect as of January 1, 2020 or earlier this year. The following are some of the more frequently asked bills related to hospitality businesses.
Plastic Straws on Request
SB 90 prohibits food and beverage providers or convenience stores from providing single-use plastic straws to consumers unless consumers specifically request single-use plastic straws. Although ORLA opposed this bill, we were able to gain concessions such as allowing for employees to offer drive-thru customers a plastic straw rather than requiring them to ask for one. After notice for a first and second violation, subsequent violations may include a fine of "not more than $25 for each day in which the food and beverage provider... remains in violation... The enforcement officer may not impose total fines of more than $300 during a calendar year." Read the specific bill language on SB 90.
FAQs on plastic straws:
Plastic Bag Ban
HB 2509B prohibits retail establishments from providing single-use checkout bags to customers, except in certain cases. ORLA opposed this bill to ban all plastic checkout bags from restaurants, grocery stores and other establishments. Violations carry a maximum fine of $250 with one occurrence per day maximum. Enforcement officers are those who conduct inspections on behalf of your local government or regulating state agency, and may determine compliance during these inspections. Read the specific bill language on HB 2509.
FAQs on Plastic Bags:
Some cities in Oregon have already instituted plastic bag bans. This new law “generally preempts, or overrides, any existing local checkout bag policy." Local governments cannot have different restrictions from the statewide law in their local policy, but could require a higher fee and impose a penalty other than the penalty established under HB 2509—but a restaurant or retail store can only be charged with a violation under either the local provision or HB 2509.
Commercial Activities Tax
The new Commercial Activity Tax is imposed only after a taxpayer exceeds $1 million of taxable commercial activity. Once they pass that threshold, the tax is $250 plus 0.57% on gross receipts greater than $1 million after subtractions. Draft rules have been released by the Department of Revenue, including estimated payments and filing extensions. The Department of Revenue intends to release a series of draft rules through March, with the permanent rulemaking process beginning on April 1, 2020. The tax begins on January 1, 2020. It includes all business entity types, including C and S corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, etc. Read more on the CAT, timelines, and other resources.
Accommodations for Pregnancy Related Conditions
The Oregon Legislature recently passed House Bill 2341 (2019) which provides additional employee protections related to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, including lactation. Read more at Oregon.gov/boli.
As of Oct. 1, 2020, regular Oregon driver’s licenses will no longer be valid to board a commercial flight, or do other activities where a federally approved form of identification is required. Should someone choose not to upgrade to a Real ID, a standard Oregon driver’s licenses will still be good for activities, such as driving, purchasing alcohol, registering to vote or applying for benefits.
Questions? If you have additional questions on these or other new laws, contact Nicole Peterson, Government Affairs Coordinator, at 503.320.9823.
We welcome industry members' submissions of news and information relevant to the restaurant and lodging industry in Oregon. Association members are primarily considered and encouraged to share expertise and perspective following the guidelines below for submitting an article. Please note, we do not publish press releases submitted.
The criteria outlined below in no way guarantees your submission will be published at all, or that a submission will appear in any particular issue. The submission should satisfy the criteria, but is entirely subject to editing for length and content.
To submit an article for consideration in any of ORLA's communication vehicles please email Editor, Lori Little, at LLittle@OregonRLA.org.
What’s Legal When It Comes to CBD in Edibles and Alcohol
As new trends and topics in the alcohol industry emerge, the OLCC strives to keep current on these issues. Recently, there has been significant interest throughout the industry in the use and sale of cannabidiol (CBD) items on liquor-licensed premises. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (also referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill) was partially responsible for generating this interest because a part of the bill removed “hemp” and its derivatives from the definition of “marihuana” in the Controlled Substances Act. Although the 2018 Farm Bill established some regulatory authority for hemp under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this piece of legislation did little to explain or clarify the legal status of CBD and CBD products. Due to this uncertainty, the next few paragraphs will attempt to explain the complexities of this issue and help to answer a few questions about CBD products and OLCC liquor licensees.
What is CBD?
First, it is important to understand what CBD is and where it comes from. CBD is a non-intoxicating chemical compound (called a cannabinoid) that can be derived from cannabis plants. Because both hemp and marijuana come from the same plant (cannabis) they are both interchangeably referred to as cannabis, but there is an important legal distinction. Whether a cannabis plant is considered hemp or marijuana depends upon the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the plant contains. THC is, of course, the cannabinoid responsible for the psychological effects associated with marijuana consumption. For a cannabis plant to be considered hemp, it must contain less than 0.3 percent THC, otherwise the plant is considered marijuana. Because marijuana is still considered to be a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government, the source of the CBD is important. Even if a finished CBD product contains 0 percent THC, if the CBD was derived from a plant that contained more than 0.3 percent THC and is therefore marijuana, the CBD is considered a marijuana derivative. In Oregon, marijuana and all marijuana derivatives may only be sold by a licensed recreational marijuana retail store or medical marijuana registrant. For OLCC liquor licensees, the source of the CBD is also important because permitting the use or sale of a marijuana item on a liquor-licensed premises is a violation that could result in a license suspension or civil penalty.
Although the CBD must be derived from hemp, not all hemp products contain CBD. Hemp stalks and seeds contain only trace amounts of CBD and have been legally used in food and beverages prior to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. The CBD used in many popular products is commonly extracted from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant. The remainder of this article refers to CBD derived from hemp.
What Conduct is Prohibited?
Despite the current lack of legal clarity, federal agencies have provided guidance on two types of conduct that are prohibited. First, the FDA, which regulates food products and food safety, has determined that selling or offering to sell a food or beverage item containing CBD in interstate commerce is illegal. For OLCC liquor licensees to comply with federal law, they should not purchase CBD products that were produced in another state.
Second, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which regulates the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages, has determined it will not approve any alcoholic beverage formulas that contain CBD. Because obtaining formula approval is required to produce an alcoholic beverage with a non-traditional ingredient (such as hemp), all alcoholic beverages manufactured with CBD are prohibited. This means that all OLCC licensees that manufacture alcoholic beverages are prohibited from adding CBD during the production of the beverage or prior to bottling. To help clarify the agency’s position, the OLCC has proposed a rule change that would make it a violation for any OLCC liquor licensee to manufacture, store, or sell any alcoholic beverage that contains cannabinoids or any substance derived from cannabis, including cannabis terpenes. If adopted at the December Commission Meeting, the rule would apply to all license types and be effective January 1, 2020.
What about Non-Alcoholic CBD Products?
The two other common questions received by the OLCC on this issue involve non-alcoholic CBD products. Licensees are particularly interested in mixing non-alcoholic CBD beverages with alcohol in a mixed drink for on-premises consumption and are also interested in selling non-alcoholic CBD products on liquor-licensed premises.
In Oregon, hemp production is regulated by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA). The ODA has adopted rules that govern products made with hemp, including items intended for human consumption. Under ODA rules, those food and beverage items made with hemp are required to be tested in the same manner that marijuana food items are tested in Oregon. This means that an OLCC licensed laboratory or equivalent lab must receive samples from each process lot of the hemp items and the lab must test those products to ensure they meet certain standards regarding pesticides, solvents, and potency. Because people are going to be consuming these products, it is extremely important to make sure that these items have been tested.
Because the effect of mixing CBD and alcohol is currently unknown, the OLCC recommends that licensees do not mix CBD and alcohol together into mixed drinks for on-premises consumption. If a licensee chooses to do so, it is done at the licensee’s own risk. If a licensee would like to sell a non-alcoholic CBD item on a liquor-licensed premises, the licensee must obtain a copy of the lab report showing that the product was properly tested according to the ODA’s rules. If any licensee is currently selling any CBD products that have not been properly tested, the licensee should have removed all non-compliant products from their inventory by December 31, 2019.
The OLCC is publishing guidance documents on the OLCC website to help explain what types of activities may occur on a liquor-licensed premises. The guidance is split into five categories: alcohol manufacturing, wholesale and distribution, liquor store sales, sale of alcohol at retail, and testing requirements. The guidance is meant to help provide clarity for a very complex issue. These documents are scheduled to be available by the end of December and will be updated if rules or policies change. If you have questions, please visit the OLCC website at Oregon.gov/OLCC or contact the OLCC. | Jamie Dickinson, Oregon Liquor Control Commission
This article originally published in the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Magazine - Winter 2020
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association to Honor Six Restaurant Industry Members
[Wilsonville, OR] – Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) is proud to announce the 2020 state winners of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) Restaurant Industry Awards. Two restaurants, Elephants Delicatessen (Portland) and Sybaris Bistro (Albany) were named state winners for the Restaurant Neighbor Award. Loretta Guzman (Bison Coffee House, Portland), Jason Devrouax (First Burger, Albany), and Lauro Romero (Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, Portland) were named state winners for the Faces of Diversity Award. Paul Paz (WaitersWorld, Portland) was named state winner for the Ambassador of Hospitality Award.
“The involvement and dedication these restaurants have shown in support of local philanthropy is commendable and exemplifies the spirit of our industry and our state,” said Jason Brandt, ORLA President & CEO. “It’s an honor to recognize these restaurants as well as four individuals who have achieved success through perseverance and passion.”
Nine out of 10 restaurants give back to their communities through charitable activities. Restaurants also play an important role in providing a ladder of opportunity for millions of Americans to achieve the American Dream.
Each year, the NRAEF recognizes restaurants around the country for outstanding community service, diversity and leadership. These prestigious national awards honor restaurants that go above and beyond in supporting their community and inspiring others with their stories of success.
All state winners were forwarded to NRAEF in consideration for national awards to be announced early March. Three national Restaurant Neighbor Award winners will receive a $10,000 award to help support their favorite charity or community project. Three national winners of the Faces of Diversity Award will have a $2,500 scholarship awarded in their name to an aspiring student from their state. In addition, all national winners will be flown to Washington, DC to receive the award at a special banquet on March 4, 2020.
Oregon’s award recipients will be formally recognized among their peers during the ORLA Hospitality Conference, this year in Ashland, September 28-29, 2020.
For more information on Oregon's restaurant awards, visit OregonRLA.org/restaurant-awards.
ProStart Teacher's Education Session Fall 2019 Resources
In November 2019, Metro's Sustainability and Food Waste team gave a presentation to ProStart teachers on food systems, food waste and climate change. The following resources are made available to teachers for use in their culinary classrooms.
Plan, Shop, Chop (PSC)
In this interactive simulation, students plan and shop for a meal of their choosing and then calculate and discuss the impact when an average of 40% of food is wasted in the United States. Topics include greenhouse gas emissions, use of landfill space, and loss of natural resources, human labor, and money, as well as generating solutions to prevent food waste at home. The lesson includes optional extensions to investigate the food waste hierarchy and examine the supply chain of a common food item, the banana.
Plan, Shop, Chop Lesson:
Banana Supply Chain:
Living with Food in the 21st Century
This two-part lesson guides participants through a new story of climate change using a lens of hope, equity, community resilience, and increased quality of life. After discussing the basics of climate science with graphs and personal stories, participants will use an interactive concept map and short video series to understand the link between consumer culture and climate disruption. They will then investigate a range of individual and collective actions to combat climate change through a ranking activity with drawdown solutions and a climate justice mixer.
Additional Resources from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE)
At their most recent meeting, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) Board of Directors voted unanimously (with 1 abstention) to support a legislative bill which will originate from Governor Brown’s office in support of a permanent 1.8% statewide lodging tax rate during the 2020 Oregon Legislative Session. Revenue raised by the statewide lodging tax is invested in Travel Oregon’s efforts to strengthen the economic impact of our state’s tourism industry. Oregon’s statewide lodging tax is currently collected at a rate of 1.8% with a reduction in the rate scheduled to take effect as of July 1, 2020 to a permanent rate of 1.5%.
“We appreciate Governor Brown’s proactive outreach to meet with ORLA and some of our key lodging stakeholders in person to discuss the merits of keeping the statewide lodging tax rate at 1.8% permanently,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO of ORLA. “Our goals for lodging tax rate structures in Oregon are two-fold – protecting all statewide lodging tax resources to create return on investment for the industry through the efforts of Travel Oregon and protecting local lodging tax reforms passed in the 2003 Legislative Session.”
Oregon continues to experience healthy growth in tourism spending logging our ninth consecutive year of industry growth in 2018. Compared to 2017, visitor spending was up 4.2% reaching a record $12.3 billion. Industry employment was also up year over year by 2.9% to approximately 115,400. Year over year, hotel room revenue increased by 4.4% as well.
“We have seen firsthand what strategic investments in tourism promotion can do when industry tax dollars are put to their most effective use,” said Brandt. “With many other competing priorities in the Capitol, it is essential the association protects the appropriate use of these dollars at both the local and state levels. The economic impacts we are seeing are significant not just for our industry but for our public sector partners as well.”
The U.S. Travel Association tracks statewide economic impact throughout the country and assists states in quantifying the value of year over year tourism growth. The most recently available data notates Oregon’s tourism growth at 5.3% when comparing 2016 to 2017, further substantiating the value of healthy tourism growth for Oregon’s public sector. From 2016 to 2017, Oregon experienced visitor spending growth of $652 million. That increase in spending and associated payroll income tax increases equates to as many as 410 firefighter positions, 380 police officer positions, or 380 teacher positions.
ORLA continues to focus on the protection of local lodging tax dollars for tourism promotion and tourism related facilities in addition to support given to Governor Brown’s upcoming legislative bill for the statewide resource. Oregon’s local lodging tax structure can be complicated with over 110 different city and county jurisdictions collecting a transient lodging tax outside of the 1.8% statewide tax. Important guidelines have been in place for the past 16 years for how local lodging tax dollars can be spent. To clarify those parameters, ORLA recently produced a new instructional video to assist all stakeholders and the general public in better understanding the rules which govern local lodging tax resources.
The new video specific to local lodging taxes (not to be confused with Oregon’s 1.8% statewide lodging tax) can be viewed here:
For more information about the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association’s policies on transient lodging taxes, please reach out to Greg Astley, ORLA’s Director of Government Affairs, at email@example.com via email.
Commercial Activity Tax (CAT)
The new Commercial Activity Tax is imposed only after a taxpayer exceeds $1 million of taxable commercial activity. Once they pass that threshold, the tax is $250 plus 0.57% on gross receipts greater than $1 million after subtractions. Proceeds of the tax are directed by statute to boost funding for public schools. The Department of Revenue's website includes a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for tax payers to better understand what the tax is and who is subject to the tax.
Announcements from ORLA:
Apr. 22, 2020 - In a brief statement yesterday, the Governor announced she does not support delaying the CAT, despite having heard from several small- and medium-sized businesses that they face severe cash-flow and liquidity issues. However, she said the state will waive all penalties related to first quarter CAT payments.
Mar. 26, 2020 - Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association joined 48 other Oregon businesses and organizations in signing a letter to legislators urging temporary relief from the Commercial (Corporate) Activity Tax. Oregon’s hospitality businesses are critically challenged with this crisis and a new tax could hurt their ability to pay employees, potentially leading to more layoffs. Read the letter.
Latest Updates from the Department of Revenue:
May 6 - Oregon DOR has determined that certain federal assistance to businesses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is not commercial activity under Oregon statute and will not be subject to the Corporate Activity Tax. The exempt assistance includes forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advances, and Small Business Administration (SBA) loan subsidies. More information can be found in the Beyond the FAQ section of the CAT page on the department’s website.
Apr. 29 - The Department of Revenue has revised OAR 150-317-1300 to reflect a change in the threshold for making estimated tax payments from $5,000 of annual tax liability to $10,000 of annual tax liability for the first year of the tax. This means businesses that will owe less than $10,000 are not required to make quarterly estimated tax payments during 2020. DOR also won’t assess penalties for underestimated quarterly payments or for not making a quarterly payment, if businesses don’t have the financial ability to make the estimated payment.
Apr. 17 - First Quarter Corporate Activity Tax payments due April 30; Good faith effort will prevent underpayment penalties. The department will not assess underpayment penalties to taxpayers making a good faith effort to estimate their first quarter payments for the CAT.
Apr. 10 - DOR has begun the process of converting 16 temporary administrative rules for the CAT into permanent rules. The process will include a public comment period and a hearing on the rules, giving business taxpayers and tax professionals additional opportunities to provide input into the rules before they become permanent. Click here to sign up to receive rulemaking notices from the department.
Mar. 20 - DOR posted a link to a video of the March 10 CAT update meeting in Ashland on the agency’s website. The department has also posted a copy of the presentation used in the update meetings. Business taxpayers can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mar. 13 - DOR has suspended its series of Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) update meetings due to concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. In the coming days, the department will announce alternatives to the in-person meetings for providing CAT update information to business taxpayers and tax professionals.
Mar. 6 - Two new administrative rules governing Oregon’s new Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) have been officially filed with the Secretary of State effective March 6. Twelve rules for the CAT became effective Jan. 1 with four others taking effect Feb. 1.
Feb. 6 - The Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) will host a series of meetings across the state in March to provide information to business taxpayers about the administrative rules for the new Commercial Activity Tax. Complete schedule available online.
Jan. 27 - Three new draft rules have been posted on DOR's CAT page, allowing business taxpayers time to review the rules and use them as guidance on how to proceed and offers them an additional opportunity to have input into the rules.
Jan. 13 - A new draft administrative rule has been added to the CAT page on the DOR website and is the first of the second group of temporary rules which will be officially filed with the Oregon Secretary of State February 1.
Jan. 6 - General guidance on how to calculate a business’s CAT liability has been added to the FAQ page of DOR's website. The guidance includes information on how to use the labor or cost subtraction.
Jan. 2 - The first group of 12 temporary administrative rules governing the new CAT have been officially filed with the Secretary of State, found on the Secretary of State’s website under current rules for Chapter 150, Division 317. Permanent rulemaking begins April 1.
Resources & Webinars to Help You Understand the CAT
The Commercial Activity Tax is complicated and calculating your potential tax can be confusing. Therefore, ORLA has created a CAT calculator example to help our members understand how to calculate the tax. This exercise is only meant to help you project what your tax liability could be; as always, be sure to consult your tax advisors.
ORLA hosted two members-only informational webinars on Nov. 19 and Dec. 3 that explained the new tax, the Department’s implementation plans and what you can expect as a business owner. Tax experts with accounting firm Moss Adams LLP in Portland also provided some best tax practices for the hospitality industry. ORLA members can access the slide deck from the presentation by logging into the Member Portal on ORLA's website and clicking the Resource Library.
FAQ: Can we include the CAT tax on our customers’ bill?
A. The legislation that established the CAT (Oregon Laws 2019, Chapters 122 and 579) does not specifically prohibit a business from passing on additional cost of the tax. If you do choose to add a new line item to the receipt, the line item itself still counts as “commercial activity” when determining your tax liability. Consult with an attorney or financial advisor before making any final decisions.
How the Commercial Activities Tax Came About
This was one of the 2019 Legislative Session bills having the biggest impact on businesses. ORLA was opposed to this bill as it raised taxes on commercial activity for businesses with gross revenues of over one million dollars. ORLA, along with others in the business community, was able to amend the original bill to include a deduction for labor or cost of goods sold. The association will work during the rule making session to ensure hospitality businesses will be able to include the tax increase on receipts so customers can see the impact of the tax.
Additional Information and Timeline for the CAT
DOR Sought Industry Input in CAT Rule Making
The Department of Revenue (DOR) held a series of town hall meetings across the state in September-October to seek input from business taxpayers about the administrative rules for Oregon’s new Commercial Activity Tax (CAT). Nearly 900 business taxpayers and tax professionals took part in these public forums or participated in video conferences and conference calls. More information is now available on the CAT page of DOR website.
If you have any questions, please email Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs, at Astley@OregonRLA.org.
This is for general informational purposes only. The information is not, and should not be relied upon or regarded as, legal advice. Please consult with your legal advisors.