Effective today, June 30, face covering and distancing rules are eliminated in alignment with the full reopening of our economy. Governor Brown’s announcement last Friday was welcome news to Oregon's businesses ready to open back up at full capacity.
Earlier this week we received confirmation from OR-OSHA Director Michael Wood that mask and distancing mandates will be eliminated (with certain exceptions, including health care, public transit, and airports).
However, not all of Oregon OSHA’s COVID-19 requirements are going away immediately. "For the rule addressing all workplaces, examples of measures that will remain in place longer include optimization of ventilation, notification of a positive case in the workplace, and proper steps to take if an employee must quarantine."
Here's more information to pass along:
ORLA has received several questions from members regarding rule updates. Here are a few FAQs that were confirmed:
ORLA will continue to work with Oregon OSHA as part of their rules committee to continue addressing the details involved with unraveling the remainder of the COVID-19 directives.
As always, you can reach out to your ORLA Regional Representative for questions.
There is no light switch. It will take years to build back what was lost.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 25, 2021
Jason Brandt, President & CEO, ORLA
503.302.5060 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Wilsonville, OR– Today’s announcement from Governor Kate Brown announcing a full reopening of Oregon’s economy no later than Wednesday, June 30 is welcome news. Our state’s restaurant and lodging establishments have a long road ahead as small businesses continue the hard work of regaining their footing after 15 months and 13 days of historic and over-reaching government regulation. Permanent closures, workforce access issues, partial re-openings, and ever-changing administrative rules and emergency orders have left a permanent mark on the approach to doing business in Oregon.
“We never could have imagined the gravity and depth to which government regulations would dictate how we live in a free society when industry shutdowns and capacity restrictions first went into effect on Tuesday, March 17 of 2020,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “Here we are 15 months later picking up the pieces and doing whatever we can to help Oregon’s extraordinary hospitality industry find its identity once again and it will take time. From a workforce access crisis and supply chain constraints to debt accumulation and back rents and mortgages coming due, historic industry challenges remain and will persist in the years ahead.”
To date, Oregon has permanently lost over 1,400 foodservice locations statewide and some lodging establishments remain closed. Both restaurant and lodging operators continue to face wide ranging marketplace dynamics resulting in different realities in different regions of the state. As a rule of thumb, the more reliant a region is on business travel, the harder the economic hit.
“The Portland Metro region in particular will need ongoing support to bring back the top tier hospitality experiences our overnight guests have come to expect in our state’s largest city,” said Brandt. “Our hats are off to our partners at Travel Portland, the Portland Business Alliance, and officials at the City of Portland who are inspiring Portlanders to usher in a new transformative chapter with their ‘Here for Portland’ campaign. Ongoing cleanups, increased office worker mobility, and cultural activities can and will make a big difference. As Mayor Wheeler has said, do not bet against Portland or its people.”
One challenge remains clear statewide – no matter the region, the workforce access crisis is deep and relentless. Restaurants and lodging establishments in all regions of the state are currently forced to reduce operating hours, minimize menu options and cordon off available rooms respectively.
“To put it plainly, there are too many Oregonians on the sidelines,” said Brandt. “And this reality has opened up a new frontline of advocacy activity for ORLA – we must be at the table in assisting our state in addressing the child care deserts that exist in all 36 counties in Oregon, we must address the extension of unemployment benefits to those who are not making a concerted effort to find their next job, and we must protect the rights of our frontline workers who choose to wear a face covering at work and respect that choice and embrace it.”
For more information on the efforts of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association please visit OregonRLA.org.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which before COVID-19 provided over 180,000 paychecks to working Oregonians. The latest available data for May of 2021 from the Oregon Employment Department shows current employment levels in the accommodations and foodservice industry totaling 153,200 people.
This past year has rocked all of us, but it’s been particularly rough for small business customers. From a world-wide pandemic, a summer of social unrest, wildfires that hit too close to home, and a historical ice storm, small businesses, and especially restaurants, have endured more than their fair share of challenges.
I watched as businesses were forced to change and adapt at a moment’s notice. Many were forced to lay off their staff and face an uncertain future. But even while overcoming these challenges, I was inspired by the creativity and resiliency so many demonstrated – businesses continued to serve their communities and show compassion for their neighbors with an Oregon kind of energy that’s resilient, innovative, and rooted in care for the communities they are in. It’s the kind of energy we celebrate at PGE.
Hospitality, that friendly welcoming nature that we’re so proud of, is the heart of Oregon. We love where we’re from and we all are excited to share our favorite local eats and hot spots. I’ve been touched by the stories of restaurants caring for those most in need and the way that communities have stepped up to support their favorite local joints.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and visit with four local restaurants throughout the region. During our conversations, I was inspired by the stories these restaurants shared. Despite the numerous challenges, they have come to work every day and continue to be agents for positive change in their communities.
To show appreciation for these restaurants and yours, we’re hosting a restaurant week on PGE’s Instagram the week of July 5. We’ll be sharing the stories of these restaurants and asking our followers to share their favorite local restaurants. Want to get in on this social boost? Share your favorite local restaurant (yours included!) on your Instagram story and tag @PortlandGeneral with the hashtag #RestaurantWeek.
Thank you, ORLA, for being a great resource and unifying force for Oregon’s hospitality industry. As we continue to invest in the future of Oregon, we’re proud to make a $5,000 donation to the Oregon Hospitality Foundation. Keep up the great work!
For more information on resources available for your restaurant, please visit us at portlandgeneral.com/smallbiz. | Warren Parker III, PGE Senior Marketing Strategist SMB
This guest blog was submitted by Portland General Electric. For more information about ORLA and guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
The National Restaurant Association hosted a webinar June 17 to discuss recent developments relating to U.S. DOL/OSHA’s Updated Guidance and the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), revised CDC Guidance for Vaccinated Individuals, the EEOC’s recent update of its Guidance for Vaccination and Compliance with the ADA and GINA, and what state and local “Vaccine Passports” mean for restaurants.
[Originally posted March 21, 2021] - In response to a number of inquiries on this subject, ORLA has compiled various sources of information on the topic. Please note, the following information is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.
The vast majority of content reviewed on this subject urged caution. A number of exceptions exist within mandatory programs, including medical conditions, religious grounds and potential union bargaining (if applicable). Mandatory vaccination programs are subject to state and/or federal oversight (BOLI, OSHA, NLRB, EEOC) and can trigger program review and legal pitfalls, such as violating the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and a host of potential medical, personnel and personal Data Privacy violations.
Even if successful in navigating the external patchwork of state and federal agencies, an operator that chooses to adopt a mandatory vaccination program must then overcome internal operational issues, such as what steps must be taken when an employee chooses not to be vaccinated, how to then protect the rest of the workforce, reconfiguration of office space, schedule changes and the like.
While mandatory vaccinations are allowed, a mandatory vaccination program is not advisable. The downside seems too great of risk for operators large and small.
Employers are encouraged however to promote employee self-education for vaccination acceptance, support voluntary vaccinations, follow the guidelines of local, city and state health authorities, provide their workforce the flexibility for designated group vaccination schedules and work with local Chambers and trade associations.
Here is a list of resources providing information on vaccines in the workplace:
For questions, please reach out to your Regional Representative.
[Update 6.14.21] - Key dates and CAT forms from the Oregon Department of Revenue and the Corporate Activity Tax team
Key dates include*:
* The Oregon Legislature is currently considering changes that may impact these dates for some taxpayers. More details will be provided if those become law.”
CAT forms can be found on the Department of Revenue website forms page by scrolling down to Corporate Activity Tax or entering Corporate Activity Tax in the search block. Important online resources include a worksheet to help with estimating payments, registration and payment training, a list of frequently asked questions, and a series of short subject-specific instructional videos.
Taxpayers with questions about the CAT can email email@example.com or call 503-945-8005.
Relief options available to taxpayers negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the agency’s tax relief options page. Information about tax relief available for those affected by wildfires is also available on the agency website.
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.
Latest Announcements & Updates:
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.
We welcome industry members' article submissions 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.
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.
Guest Blog Submission Guidelines
To submit a guest blog post, contact ORLA’s Director of Business Development Marla McColly at 503.428.8694. Guest blog posts are considered sponsored opportunities.