ORLA Advocacy-CEO Updates
NOTE: ORLA's blog will be going offline for upgrades the last week in October.
[October 22, 2021] - Meals Tax Fight | Free Training | Continued Push for RRF
Local Meals Tax Fights Continue - We are neck deep in local opposition campaigns in both Cannon Beach and Newport in support of our local restaurants doing business in those communities. As you’ve heard before, we’ll most likely know later in the evening on November 2 whether either of these proposed 5% meals tax proposals pass by will of the voters. Here’s the latest media coverage from earlier this week.
Free Covid Online Training Extended – We have made the decision to extend access to the free online training we created at the association to assist restaurant and lodging operators and their staff with the challenging customer service dynamics when dealing with mask mandates across the state. We will keep these Guest Service Safety trainings (restaurant and lodging versions in both English and Spanish) available online for free through at least the end of the calendar year. Make sure to take advantage for your own operation and feel free to spread the word and share the following link so others in our industry can access this free resource thanks to a sponsorship from Anheuser Busch.
ORLA Media Event – Your state association in conjunction with several other state associations around the nation will be holding media events to continue pressing the need for restaurant revitalization funding for all eligible applicants. We want to thank Gabriel Pascuzzi, Chef & Owner of Mama Bird for stepping up and representing 2,592 restaurant businesses like his who remain out in the cold with no restaurant revitalization funding after applying for federal financial relief. We’ll do our best to make an impression in the media this coming week and keep the chorus going as we press federal elected leaders to make good on their promise.
Here for Oregon Partnership – The Oregonian is our latest sponsor of the Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy program and we want to thank Oregonian Media Group President John Maher and their Vice President of Brand and Strategic Partnerships Amy Lewin for thinking big and launching their “Here for Oregon” initiative. The Oregonian is launching this new effort to help share the good across our great state. Powered by the incredible teams and tools of The Oregonian/OregonLive, they are taking the stories created every day and building a new place dedicated to lifting and celebrating Oregon. This multi-media approach offers a custom blend of community-driven content that is distinctly Oregon. It's an extraordinary aggregate for joy, awareness, and connection across the state. Whether you live in Pendleton, Pleasant Hill or Portland, there’s a place for you here and we want to help celebrate what the Oregonian is working to accomplish. As they begin to roll out their efforts, John and Amy are inviting their community partners to join them in building, from the ground up, stories of the people, the places, the experiences and the diversity of culture and skills that inspire innovation and community. Share Oregon. “Like” and “Follow” @HereisOregon on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube Get the good stuff. Subscribe to Here is Oregon weekly e-newsletter. Show you’re here and tag good news in your community with #HereisOregon.
[October 4, 2021] - Foundation Updates | Industry Recovery Trends | OTLA
Oregon Hospitality Foundation Updates - This past week, ORLA’s Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation Wendy Popkin announced she has accepted a new role with the Washington County Visitors Association as Vice President of Destination Sales. We hope you all join us in celebrating Wendy’s contributions to the Foundation over the past nine years. In conversations with Wendy and Foundation Board members, we are moving forward with a plan to hire two new full time positions in support of the hospitality foundation. One position will be an executive coordinator for foundation governance while also serving as our ProStart Liaison for Oregon’s 40 participating high schools. The other position will be a Workforce Development Coordinator focused on creating stronger connections between industry leaders and high school and community college classrooms – think guest speaking opportunities, job shadow coordination, career/job fair involvement, and experiential field trips. Reach out to ORLA if you know someone interested in these positions.
National Restaurant Trends - The latest economic trends in the restaurant survey based on a feedback from 4,000 restaurants across the nation. The NRA's infographic and associated letter sent to DC leadership focus on the importance of preventing new taxes on small businesses as our industry continues to grapple with the impacts of the enduring pandemic. Activity in DC continues to be touch and go and our Government Affairs team will continue keeping all lines of communication open with our partners at AAHOA, AHLA, and NRA as developments unfold.
[September 24, 2021] - Fight Against Meals Taxes / Chair's Getaway / Conference Program
Fights Against Meal Taxes Continue - The ORLA professional team led by Steve Scardina and Terry Hopkins in their regions of the state and supported by Greg Astley, Tom Perrick, and Glenda Hamstreet in our Government Affairs Department are working hard to defeat meals taxes appearing on the November ballot in the cities of Cannon Beach and Newport. Our websites for the campaigns are up and running and our success in defeating both proposals is largely dependent on our ability to keep local restaurants in both communities engaged and in the forefront. It is critical that ORLA take a back seat to the local names and faces that make up a local restaurant industry while fully leveraging ORLA’s association structure to assist our local members in fighting effectively against tax proposals when they are opposed by members in cases like this. In the past 4 years, we have successfully defeated two other restaurant tax proposals – one in Jacksonville and one in Hood River County. We hope to defeat these two tax proposals and should have results to share on November 2 or 3. Vote No Sales Tax on Meals!
ORLA Hospitality Conference Success - Earlier this week ORLA held a 2-day in-person conference for industry members at the Riverhouse in Bend. Feedback so far has been very positive, citing keynote and breakout session messages on target and insightful for the hard-hit hospitality industry. ORLA members also had the opportunity to vote in several new members of the Board of Directors. Save the date for next year's event on Sunday & Monday, September 11 and 12 at the Graduate hotel in Eugene.
Chair’s Getaway - We are off and running in creating a great experience on Oregon’s north coast for our Chair’s Getaway event on Sunday, November 7 which will be co-hosted by Incoming Chair John Barofsky and Outgoing Chair Masudur Khan. We want to take a moment to thank Shannon McMenamin and her team at the Gearhart location for working with us to put together the Reception and Multi-Course Dinner on site. Also, a big thanks to Outgoing ORLA Chair Masudur Khan for making the SaltLine Hotel available for overnight stays and our sponsors at US Foods (thanks Randy) and Pacific Seafood for their food donations. We also have America’s Hub World Tours joining us as a Transportation Sponsor this year for those who prefer a shuttle bus between the hotel and the restaurant. The Chair’s Getaway event has 50-60 people in attendance and is an opportunity to raise funds for ORLAPAC under the direction of Greg Astley, ORLA’s Director of Government Affairs. I hope you consider making a donation to ORLAPAC and join us for this great reception, dinner, and overnight stay following on November 7. Register here to reserve your seats – we expect this will sell out so act soon.
[September 17, 2021] - Win for Lottery Retailers / Vaccine Mandates / EIDL Updates
Win for Lottery Retailers – ORLA’s membership includes a segment that cares deeply about the association’s advocacy for lottery retailer issues. ORLA in partnership with many other stakeholders was able to secure a win with the Governor committing in writing to prohibit any expansion of state sponsored gambling on mobile devices with an exception for the options already available on cell phones. The following two letters spell out the request made by us and our partners to legislative leadership and the Governor’s response essentially putting a moratorium on any gambling expansions on cell phones for the duration of her term in office.
Vaccine Mandates – We expect to have our hands full in the coming months as the potential for emerging vaccine mandates continues to be debated primarily at the local levels of government outside of President Biden’s announcement this past week. We have been made aware that King County in Washington State will move forward with a vaccine mandate but has decided to again target specific businesses with the mandate as opposed to all businesses. It remains unclear how the new vaccine mandate will be enforced and how the role of restaurant and other industry operators will be defined for those industries impacted. The King County mandate will go into effect in late October. Our reports show the NYC mandate has a vaccine verification compliance rate of less than 30% meaning as many as 70% of operations were not verifying vaccine status at the door. In one of ORLA’s recent surveys we asked operators what types of mandates they would proactively comply with. Under 40% said they would comply with vaccine verification and we suspect the reason is driven by the challenges posed by putting our frontline staff in the position of asking for those verifications universally to dine indoors and the uncertainty of what happens when customers are denied indoor dining service due to a mandate.
As a reminder, we openly shared our survey results and our deep concerns about compliance rates with Multnomah County Chair Kafoury and the Governor’s Office. We’re hoping that step keeps the industry from being targeted while we continue our advocacy and support for vaccines and their importance.
EIDL Program Updates – The Small Business Administration’s Deputy District Director for Portland Sam Goldstein provided us at ORLA with the latest updates on EIDL. The SBA's COVID EIDL Program Summary serves as a review of where we are to date on EIDL expansion. Another webinar presentation is coming up on September 23; register here.
The SBA is continuing to accept loans and modification to existing loans. New applications and increases in existing loans resulting in total amounts to be approved >$500K can be submitted immediately. Decisions on requests >$500K will begin October 8, 2021.
Main Update: Increase in maximum loan amount from $500,000 to $2,000,000 (policy)
Key Changes in Effect as of September 8, 2021:
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