Data assessment shows a lack of correlation between economic sanctions and virus mitigation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2021
Jason Brandt, President & CEO, ORLA
503.302.5060 | JBrandt@OregonRLA.org
Featured Industry Operator / On-Site Access:
Treva Gambs, Gamberetti’s Italian Restaurants
503.881.5761 | Treva@gamberettis.com
Wilsonville, OR– Oregon’s restaurant and lodging industries continue to suffer greatly according to the latest data made available by the Oregon Employment Department. Leisure and hospitality businesses lost 25,500 jobs in December. An announcement today from the Governor’s office is welcome news for lottery retailers, restaurant operators with functional outdoor dining space, and Oregon’s lodging industry eager to bring amenities including indoor pools and hot tubs back online for their guests. Still, thousands of restaurant operators are not assisted by these helpful modifications if they are not lottery retailers and lack available space for outdoor dining options.
“Oregonians in our industry can’t pay their monthly bills with two weeks of employment certainty at a time,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “The reality of the 2-week county risk category assessments is taking us down a dangerous path where tens of thousands of Oregonians no longer have paychecks again. The lack of continuity in operations is permanently altering too many Oregonian livelihoods. We must open some indoor dining statewide now, and we can do it safely.”
Oregon’s aggressive economic restrictions on one of the state’s largest private sector employers continues to lack data to substantiate the disproportionate sacrifices being endured by these small business operators. According to weekly reports by the Oregon Health Authority and a declaration from Dr. Dean Sidelinger in federal district court, Oregon’s foodservice industry accounts for less than 1 percent of all workplace outbreaks and 4.7 percent of Oregon’s overall outbreaks, respectively. Yet, Oregon’s foodservice operations continue to be shut down in the vast majority of the state.
“It doesn’t make sense to me how I can have all this space to safely spread out my customers in my restaurant and have the government continue to tell me I can’t use it when I know I can do it safely,” said Treva Gambs, owner of Gamberetti’s Italian Restaurants in Salem and Albany. “The discrimination we are facing is keeping me from taking care of my employees and my customers in ways that can really help our communities get through an emotional and depressing time.”
A recent analysis of December data on the status of restaurant closures across states with mask mandates shows no correlation between the number of cases and deaths and the decisions to close indoor dining. The chart below illustrates the lack of connectivity. In addition, the year 2020 included multiple press conferences highlighting the lack of data to close foodservice operations across Oregon. Governor Brown and Dr. Dean Sidelinger shared comments in press conferences on multiple occasions acknowledging the lack of connectivity to the hospitality industry during periods of the year where hospitality businesses remained open and case counts remained low.
“ORLA will continue our call for a reconvened Economic Advisory Council to solve a chronic problem we currently face – there is no formal dialogue taking place between government officials, health advisors, and industry leaders to fully understand the devastating impacts prolonged restrictions are having on all aspects of Oregon’s once thriving hospitality industry,” said Brandt. “The data above should bring us all to ask one important central question – what evidence is there to justify the crippling impacts of ongoing closures on Oregonians?”
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. According to the Oregon Employment Department’s December data, over 50,000 Oregonians that once had a job in hospitality do not have work available to return to.
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.
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).
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.