The State’s Most Diverse Industry Pushes to Bring Jobs Back Now
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 2, 2021
ORLA Board Chair:
Masudur Khan, ORLA Board Chair
248.910.8170 | firstname.lastname@example.org
ORLA Board Member:
Harish Patel, President, Florencein, Inc.
503.443.4686 | email@example.com
Wilsonville, OR– Oregon’s restaurant and lodging industries carry the distinction of having 17.1 percent of its employment base represented by people of color, the highest share of any industry in the state. Yet, Oregon’s foodservice and accommodations sector continues to reel from disproportionate restrictions forced upon these small businesses and their employees.
“At this time there is a heightened sense of social unrest with racial inequities,” said Harish Patel, President of Oregon hospitality company Florencein, Inc. “The current leaders in the State of Oregon are throwing a blind eye and are out of touch with the industries they are continuing to restrict.”
According to the Oregon Employment Department’s website, the Accommodation and Foodservice sector reached a historic high of 193,204 employees in August of 2019. According to the latest available data from December of 2020, the sector now employs 119,400 representing a staggering 38 percent drop in jobs.
“The ORLA Board of Directors and our professional leadership do not question the role of public health interventions, but we fail to see an additional benefit to business closures,” said Masudur Khan, Chair of ORLA’s Board of Directors and Owner of Seaside Lodging LLC. “Studies show these ongoing restrictions on our hotels and restaurants damage our important work in providing equity and opportunities to people of color here in the State of Oregon.”
A new study by the Bureau of Economic Research with participation by academic experts from Duke University, John Hopkins University, and the Harvard Medical School concluded the long-term loss of life over the period of the next 15 years could far surpass those we have lost directly to Covid. That study is available for download through the following link and provides comprehensive analysis on the impacts of unemployment for all with an emphasis on underrepresented populations: https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w28304/w28304.pdf
“Our results suggest that the toll of lives claimed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus far exceeds those immediately related to the acute COVID-19 critical illness and that the recession caused by the pandemic can jeopardize population health for the next two decades,” the researchers said.
In addition, studies from past decades have concluded there is a correlation between increased unemployment and higher death rates citing a 1.2 percent increase in mortality for every 10 percent rise in the number of people unemployed, according to Harvey Brenner in his 1979 study titled ‘Influence of the Social Environment on Psychology.’
An article published by the Oregon Employment Department in November of 2020 sums up the challenge and its impact on the Oregon hospitality industry stating the following:
“Unfortunately, the industry that is the most racially diverse, and the second most ethnically diverse, is having a difficult time recovering after the initial COVID-19 impacts.”
ORLA continues their call for a return to limited indoor dining statewide in perpetuity as one of the most crucial steps that can be taken now to counteract the increasing toll government restrictions are having in real time on the livelihoods and health of Oregonians.
“We have all heard the saying ‘we are all in this together’ as we have worked to fight against the virus,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “That is simply not the case. We are certainly all in the same storm together, but we need to be honest with ourselves about what vessels the good people of Oregon are in as they try to weather that storm. Some are in cruise ships while others struggle to turn over their capsized kayak. There are too many capsized kayaks right now in Oregon’s hospitality industry.”
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.