[Sept. 22, 2020] - Oregon Hospitality Industry Economic Impact to Date
Earlier today, ORLA was invited to provide testimony featuring the latest economic impact data from Oregon’s hospitality industry. The Interim Senate Committee on Labor and Business received the following written testimony with ORLA’s oral testimony focused on the importance of a second round of Paycheck Protection Program funding from the federal government while also working with state leaders to safely get to Phase Two reopening status for Oregon’s remaining 5 counties still in Phase One. Malheur, Lincoln, Washington, Clackamas, and Multnomah counties remain focal points for ORLA. Once safety benchmarks are achieved in these regions, County Commissioners must act to protect small businesses and jobs wherever possible by entering into Phase Two.
To get more engaged with County Commissioners in your area, please reach out to your ORLA Regional Representative.
[Sept. 8, 2020] - Getting the Rest of Oregon’s Counties to Phase Two
As we officially pass Labor Day weekend, ORLA realizes the vital importance of making sure our hospitality industry is able to achieve Phase Two status in all Oregon counties before the weather turns. Operators from across the state continue to keep the ORLA professional staff apprised of their status with a mixed bag in play for Oregon’s restaurant and lodging operators. While some are finding a path forward others remain deeply concerned about their ability to survive.
One thing is for sure – we must get our counties to Phase Two before mid-November. Restaurants have added flexibility to utilize safety partitions to increase dining capacity in Phase Two and those types of tools will prove critical to assisting the industry with survival as the winter months approach.
ORLA was also watching closely for the possibility of a third session of the Oregon Legislature. The latest intelligence suggests a third special session will not take place this month. A potential trigger for a third special session would be action by Congress in DC to enact a fourth Coronavirus relief package. House Democrats and Senate Republicans remain divided as of the time of this writing on the price tag for the relief package. If a compromise in DC is solidified then we may see action by our state elected leaders to manage any relief requiring State of Oregon involvement. If we do not see action in DC or the action is separate from activities requiring state elected leaders to hold a special session, then we may not see the Oregon Legislature convene until their regularly scheduled session in February of 2021.
These are the latest updates from your state association. If you are looking to get involved in government affairs activity on behalf of your industry please reach out to ORLA’s Director of Government Affairs Greg Astley.
[Sept. 4, 2020] - Understanding the New Social Security Tax Deduction
The IRS recently posted the the following new release in regard to the Employee Social Security Tax Deferral:
Can employers “opt out” of allowing employees to take advantage of the deferral or do employers need to allow individual employees to take advantage of the deferral if they so choose?
Here's what we found out:
The Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM) and the AICPA both agree that if an employer suspends Social Security payroll tax withholding for eligible employees it must do so for all employees as there is no guidance that allows for individuals to opt out. This is a clarification that has been requested but at this time there is no option for employers to do this on a case by case basis.
We strongly recommend employers not defer. Employees would be forced to double up on their payroll taxes in 2021 putting that much more financial hardship on those hardest hit.
Here are some additional resources on this subject:
If you have additional questions, please reach out to your regional representative.
[August 21, 2020] - Let’s Keep Oregon’s Hospitality Industry Open!
Yesterday Governor Kate Brown and Chief of Staff Nik Blosser held a Zoom call with the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association and other statewide trade associations and Chambers of Commerce to emphasize the importance of bringing down Oregon’s positive case count per 100,000 residents.
You can find the latest status report here.
According to the presentation, countries who have been successful opening up schools have achieved stabilization with no more than 10 new positive cases each week per 100,000 residents. That rate would be equivalent to a daily case count in Oregon of no more than 60. Currently, Oregon has stabilized at a rate of roughly 300 cases per day or 49.79 new positive cases each week per 100,000 residents.
ORLA continues to advocate tirelessly to keep the hospitality industry open. As part of today’s call, we made sure to draw ongoing attention to the Weekly COVID-19 Report published by the Oregon Health Authority. Access the latest weekly report published August 19.
The data is clear in Table 7 starting on Page 14. Oregon’s hospitality industry is not the problem and we continue to showcase best in class safety with approximately 97% compliance after thousands of inspections conducted on an ongoing basis by OLCC and Oregon OSHA.
We need to do everything we can to encourage all employees and customers to mask up not just in our workplaces but also in their private life. As showcased on Page 7 of the Governor’s Status Report Powerpoint, the top actions we can take to mitigate transmission with little or no economic impacts are:
Let’s work with our local Chambers of Commerce and our Young Professional groups around the state to make sure all know what is at stake. If we don’t do a better job of mitigating virus spread in private settings then we run the risk of facing additional government regulation and ongoing consumer confidence challenges.
Oregon’s hospitality industry is leading by example. Your efforts to mitigate virus spread are extraordinary. Let’s do our part to make sure everyone in our circles is doing their part in public and private to keep Oregon ahead of the game in this country in mitigating the transmission rate.
[August 11, 2020] - Special Session Highlights
The second Special Session of 2020 wrapped up in one day, just past 11:00 pm last night. While the focus was on agency budget cuts as we have discussed previously, ORLA was involved in a leadership role on Senate Bill 1701 helping to get it passed with bipartisan support yesterday.
Here are the quick highlights on Senate Bill 1701:
Quick update on the federal dynamics sent to us this morning from the National Restaurant Association for our ORLA members specifically interested in this:
[To continue reading previous blog posts from ORLA's CEO, click "Read More" to the right]
OREGON HOSPITALITY FOUNDATION AWARDS FUNDS TO FOURTEEN RESTAURANTS FEEDING FRONTLINE WORKERS AND VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES DURING PANDEMIC
PORTLAND, Oregon– Updated August 3, 2020 – While the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone, the hospitality industry was the first hit by closures and one that has been especially devastated by its impact. The Oregon Hospitality Foundation(OHF) is proud to announce awards to fourteen restaurants throughout Oregon that responded to the incredible need for food by creating innovative programs to help feed their communities – from essential workers to unemployed restaurant staff and food-insecure neighbors. In addition to the generous support from the Grubhub Community Relief Fund, OHF will donate a percentage of proceeds from its virtual event series, Takeout & A Movie, to support restaurants and tourism partners across the state that are making a difference in our communities.
According to the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, as of April 2020 81% of restaurant employees (approximately 127,000 people in Oregon) had been laid off or furloughed. “Being of service is at the heart of the hospitality industry,” said OHF Executive Director Wendy Popkin. “The Oregon Hospitality Foundation is proud to help raise funds and contribute to family-owned restaurants across the state who are stepping up to feed people in their communities.”
OHF Hospitality Help Fund Restaurant Awards
The following Oregon restaurants received funds for their ongoing work to feed frontline workers, food-insecure citizens, and unemployed service industry professionals:
About Oregon Hospitality Foundation
The Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) was established in 1992 and is a nonprofit 501c3 that supports the charitable relief needs and ongoing educational and training requirements of Oregon’s Hospitality industry. OHF’s partners include restaurants, lodging, attractions and other tourism businesses and organizations throughout Oregon. Recently, OHF created the Oregon Hospitality Help Fund as an emergency relief fund to raise money for its hospitality partners whose businesses and employees are struggling during the pandemic. To date more than ten restaurants have received funding to donate an estimated 11,500 meals. Oregon restaurants interested in applying for these funds can complete an online application here. For more information about supporting our work with a donation or sponsorship, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Lisa Hill, email@example.com, 503.730.8055
More information is now available on the “Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act” released earlier this week by Senate Republicans. As a reminder, the House introduced the HEROES Act proposal in May, which passed along party lines. Discussions are expected to now begin in earnest as Congress faces the July 31 deadline for enhanced pandemic unemployment insurance benefits.
Part of the Republican proposal would reduce these benefits from $600 per week to $200 per week on top of state administered aid until the end of September at which time the maximum benefit will be 70% of the recipient current wages -- but this will be a starting point for the negotiations.
Read the National Restaurant Association’s summary of the proposal and the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s analysis of the HEALS Act.
Many of the hospitality industry’s priorities are included in the HEALS Act, including:
If you haven't yet, please take action on the National Restaurant Association's Blueprint for Restaurant Revival and/or the American Hotel and Lodging Association's Hotel Priorities Day of Action, thank you!
Restaurants and Bars Among Hardest Hit by COVID-19 Pandemic
[Wilsonville, OR] – The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), in partnership with the National Restaurant Association, recently completed a statistically significant survey around To-Go Cocktails, drinks made with distilled spirits for takeout, pickup or delivery to go along with meals purchased by guests.
The survey, conducted July 3-6th, shows 72% or nearly three in four Oregonians, said they would favor a proposal allowing customers to purchase cocktails or mixed drinks (made with distilled spirits) with their takeout and delivery food orders from restaurants. This is in addition to beer and wine, which is currently allowed.
Support is highest among those between the ages of 24-39 at 83%, with respondents between the ages of 58-74 showing the least support at 66%. Twenty-eight percent of adults said they strongly favor the proposal. Fifty-nine percent of Oregon adults said they purchased takeout or delivery food from a restaurant for dinner during the week before they were surveyed.
ORLA President and CEO Jason Brandt said, “This is so encouraging for our members who have struggled just to stay open and keep people employed.”
Brandt continued, “This has been an incredibly difficult time when restaurants and bars have struggled to deal with the challenges of being shut down, having to pivot to offer only takeout, pickup or delivery and then trying to invite guests back into dining rooms and make them feel safe and comfortable. Knowing almost three out of four Oregonians support the option to purchase cocktails or mixed drinks to go with their meals means some restaurants and bars who might have previously had to close down actually have a chance to make it now.”
Allowing customers to purchase cocktails or mixed drinks (made with distilled spirits) for pickup, takeout or delivery requires a statutory change, meaning the Oregon Legislature would need to make the change to state law. Thirty other states currently offer To-Go Cocktails including Washington and California.
“From a public safety perspective, if more businesses are able to offer the service of delivery of alcohol to their customers, the need for those customers to physically go into stores and businesses is reduced, thus reducing the risk of community spread of COVID-19,” said Brandt.
Recognizing the need to help those who may have difficulty with alcohol addiction, ORLA’s website outlines a number of resources available to individuals, as well as training information to aid in prevention. More information on these resources and trainings can be found at OregonRLA.org/crisis-services-and-training.
For more information please contact Greg Astley, ORLA Director of Government Affairs at 503.851.1330.
Oregon Hospitality Foundation Awards Funds to Support Restaurants’ Charitable Work
“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity, not a threat” - Steve Jobs
Restaurants are selling groceries, hotels and airlines are relaxing cancellation policies, breweries and distillers are making home deliveries, and most everybody has become proficient with unmuting/muting themselves for Zoom meetings.
As our partners have sought to quickly adjust to shifting conditions with innovative solutions, so has your foundation. With the March 16 ban on indoor dining and large party gatherings, the ensuing stay at home order, and the sudden and staggering layoffs that followed, we realized that our role as Oregon hospitality industry’s nonprofit could also evolve.
Expanded Purpose and Creating Opportunities
We felt that seeking grants and collaborating with philanthropic donors could potentially enable us to offer financial relief and direct technical support to our partners. Before we could proceed with these strategies, we had to legally expand our purpose to include charitable support. On March 31st, the foundation’s Board of Directors met to approve an additional philanthropic focus to our mission and expanded our Articles of Incorporation filed with Oregon’s Secretary of State.
A New Name
In the same meeting, the board approved a new name for ORLA’s Education Foundation which would better reflect the diversity of partnerships that our workforce, educational, and now philanthropic projects include. Meet the Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF)! The resolution was approved the following week by ORLA’s Board of Directors. OregonHospitalityFoundation.org
Big Hearts and New Partnerships
Even with restaurants having to lay off staff and either close operations entirely or quickly pivot to the takeout/delivery model, I was inspired, though not surprised, by the focus they also had to help support their community’s food needs.
Without work, and with unemployment benefits slow to arrive, there was suddenly an overwhelming number of people experiencing food insecurity. I noticed how many restaurants were rising to meet those needs by offering meals–many of which were funded from their own dwindling cash reserves.
Simultaneously, I became aware of a virtual benefit for theaters. It was hosted and streamed online by filmmakers from PHOENIX OREGON and I participated. I fell in love with the film’s premise, its encouraging message, and the portrayal of one of the movie’s central characters, a chef, who epitomized the entrepreneurial and passionate nature of many restaurateurs. (If you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend: PhoenixOregonMovie.com).
I reached out to Annie Lundgren, the producer, to see if she was interested in collaborating on something similar for the food industry. Just a few quick weeks later, we were launching the foundation’s first fundraiser, Takeout & A Movie. This joint effort, which ran from May 7-17, was a benefit for restaurants who were serving meals to our front-line heroes and to those experiencing food insecurity. It was conceived with triple benefits in mind—drive takeout throughout the state, donate cash to eligible restaurants and provide work for their employees, and provide meals.
Response was strong; see a story run by KOIN 6 TV at bit.ly/KOIN6TakeoutStory. Over 650 tickets were sold. Comments from ticket purchasers were heart-warming and included:
The event has not only resulted in new relationships that will help us create additional fundraisers but has been an amazingly rich and grounding experience for me personally. I have had the privilege of working with so many kind and generous people who are passionate about their work, while helping others, and who prove that #StrongerTogether is much more than a hashtag.
The foundation felt it important to use 100 percent of proceeds the OHF received from the Takeout promotion to benefit eligible restaurants because we wanted to make a significant impact with our first fundraising effort. Thanks to ticket sales, contributions from individuals and the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, and a generous donation from Grubhub, we were able to provide funds for an estimated 11,500 meals to restaurants who are committed to supporting our frontline heroes and those experiencing food insecurity.
First Award Recipients
We’re happy to announce the first ten recipients of our fundraising effort. More awards, made to restaurants throughout the state, will soon follow along with an announcement of our next movie fundraiser. Thank you for your support!
See the press release for full details at Oregonrla.org/hospitalityhelp. Also, at press time, there were still funds available to award. If you, or anyone you know, fit the criteria please apply at Oregonrla.org/takeoutapp.
As you probably have realized from your own experiences the past couple months, innovation is not something that can be accomplished alone. None of what OHF has accomplished thus far would be have been possible without the enthusiastic support of ORLA’s crew and the people and organizations below that expand and make our team even stronger.
Unfortunately, looking toward the upcoming fiscal year, the foundation anticipates a 75 percent drop in revenue due to contract funding changes. Your in-kind and financial contributions are greatly appreciated so that we may sustain and continue our good work. | Wendy Popkin, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, Oregon Hospitality Foundation
“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further” - Thomas Carlyle
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the restaurant and lodging industry’s education and training needs as well as providing charitable work, economic relief, and technical assistance to the 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/Foundation
ORLA is advising all industry members to follow all guidelines announced by the Oregon Health Authority and the Governor’s Office. Face coverings for employees and customers as stipulated in guidance documents are critical and must be taken seriously.
We know restaurants across this state will do whatever they can to make sure customers and employees are complying with face covering regulations. We hope fines will be imposed on customers, not businesses as a matter of common sense when customers forcibly refuse to wear face masks causing confrontational problems with industry employees - many of which are young Oregonians learning customer service and problem-solving skills as part of a first-time job.
Update: Effective July 15, face coverings are required outdoors.
For quick reference, see the following guidance:
As always, if you have questions related to guidance and best practices for restaurant and lodging operations, reach out to your statewide association.
New research shows coronavirus continues to devastate restaurant industry
New research from the National Restaurant Association indicates that the restaurant industry has lost $120 billion in sales during the last three months due to the impact of coronavirus in the United States. State mandated stay-at-home policies and forced closures of restaurant dining rooms resulted in losses of $30 billion in March, $50 billion in April, and another $40 billion in May.
The latest operator survey conducted by the NRA drew more than 3,800 responses, illustrating the extensive damage to restaurant businesses since the outbreak began. It found that the restaurant industry, which experienced the most significant sales and job losses of any industry in the country in the first quarter of 2020, expects to lose $240 billion by the year-end.
New report by Oxford Economics with state-by-state TLT revenue breakdown
As a result of the sharp drop in travel demand from COVID-19, state and local tax revenue from hotel operations will drop by $16.8 billion in 2020, according to a new report by Oxford Economics released today by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).
Hotels have long served as an economic engine for communities of all sizes, from major cities, to beach resorts, to small towns off the interstate—supporting job creation, small business opportunities and economic activity in states and localities where they operate. Hotels also generate significant tax revenue for states and local governments to fund a wide array of government services. In 2018, the hotel industry directly generated nearly $40 billion in state and local tax revenue across the country.
Oregon is expected to see a total state and local tax revenue loss of $171.7 million. Download the AHLA/Oxford Economic Report of the state-by-state breakdown for tax revenue impact and revenue loss. These tax impacts represent the direct tax revenue decrease from the severe drop in hotel occupancy, including occupancy, sales, and gaming taxes. These figures do not include the potential, significant, knock-on effects on property taxes supported by hotels (nearly $9B).
OREGON HOSPITALITY FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES FIRST AWARDS TO RESTAURANTS FEEDING FRONTLINE WORKERS AND FOOD INSECURE CITIZENS DURING PANDEMIC
Takeout & A Movie’s first virtual screening of PHOENIX OREGON provided the funding for 11,500 meals through a grant from the Grubhub Community Relief Fund, ticket sales and OHF support.
PORTLAND, Oregon – May 27, 2020 – While the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone, the hospitality industry was the first hit by closures and one that has been most devastated by its impact. The Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) is proud to announce its first round of awards to restaurants throughout Oregon who responded to the incredible need for food and created innovative programs to help feed their communities – from essential workers to unemployed restaurant staff and food-insecure neighbors. In addition to the generous support from the Grubhub Community Relief Fund, OHF will donate proceeds from its virtual event series, Takeout & A Movie to support statewide restaurants that are making a difference in our communities. Future movie events will support other initiatives such as culinary training programs.
According to the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, as of April 2020, 81% of restaurant employees, approximately 127,000 people in Oregon, had been laid off or furloughed. “Being of service is at the heart of the hospitality industry,” said OHF Executive Director Wendy Popkin. “The Oregon Hospitality Foundation is proud to help raise funds and contribute to family-owned restaurants across the state who are stepping up to meet the needs of people in their communities.”
OHF Hospitality Help Fund Restaurant Awards
The first round of restaurants to receive funds for their work to feed frontline workers, food insecure citizens, and unemployed service industry professionals, include:
Oregon restaurants interested in applying for these funds can complete an online application here.
Takeout & A Movie Event Helps to Fund over 11,500 Meals
OHF’s new fundraising event, Takeout & A Movie kicked off in May with its first virtual screening of the film PHOENIX OREGON followed by a Q&A with the film’s directors and actors, hosted by OHF Executive Director Wendy Popkin. The successful event was a partnership with Joma Film’s Annie Lundgren. Via a generous donation from the Grubhub Community Relief Fund, event ticket sales and money contributed from OHF, enough money was raised to fund an estimated 11,500 meals. The next movie in the series will be announced in June.
About Oregon Hospitality Foundation
The Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) was established in 1992 and is a nonprofit 501c3 that supports the charitable relief needs and ongoing educational and training requirements of Oregon’s Hospitality industry. OHF’s partners include restaurants, lodging, attractions and other tourism businesses and organizations throughout Oregon. Recently, OHF created the Oregon Hospitality Help Fund as an emergency relief fund to raise money for its hospitality partners whose businesses and employees are struggling during the pandemic. For more information about supporting our work with a donation or sponsorship, please visit www.oregonhospitalityfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Lisa Hill, Lisa@lisahillpr.com, 503.730.8055
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.
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.
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.