[May 18, 2020] - Commitment to Safety
Our state has officially taken steps to reopen portions of our economy previously closed including restaurants and bars in most areas. Announcements this past week from Governor Brown and the official website for all industry guidance documents can be viewed on the state's website. This page will serve as the digital headquarters in the months ahead and assist you in understanding where your county is in the phased reopening process.
It is one thing to have the legal ability to reopen and another thing entirely to instill confidence in the minds of your guests. According to data from Nielsen, about 1 in 5 have returned to on premise dining as outlets continue to reopen on a limited basis. And of those who have not yet returned, nearly half say they need to feel more comfortable visiting.
It is our responsibility at ORLA to make sure hospitality operators have every tool available to them to showcase our industry’s commitment to safety. To that end we are launching comprehensive checklists for both restaurant and lodging operations. These checklists can be utilized by ORLA members as a way to review all details of your operations and earn a Commitment to Safety Seal you can prominently display for both customers and employees.
We want to do everything possible to assist you in finding a path forward. It is going to be a challenge in the months ahead to survive on a fraction of the demand for your business you once enjoyed. We believe this tool can make a significant difference in your path to recovery.
ORLA’s regional representatives are here to help. Please reach out so they can assist you in your work to do everything you can to provide a safe and welcoming environment for your employees and your guests.
Thank you and our best to you and your team as we ramp back up to showcase what it means to serve Oregon hospitality.
[May 8, 2020] – This Week’s Updates
Yesterday, Governor Brown announced plans to begin reopening portions of Oregon’s economy that have remained closed for almost 2 months including dining rooms in bars and restaurants. In order to reopen, county governments must submit their plans to the Governor’s Office for approval. Representatives from the Oregon Health Authority referenced a commitment to a quick turnaround for county plans submitted with the expectation many counties will have the opportunity to reopen previously closed parts of their economies as early as Friday, May 15.
Lodging facilities, which were never closed by statewide order, continue to be devastated by decreases in demand. Due to marketplace dynamics and actions taken by local jurisdictions, regulations across Oregon differ for lodging establishments. Popular leisure travel destinations including Oregon’s north coast and Columbia River Gorge continue to deal with additional restrictions at the local level. Having said that, lodging facilities in general remain open for business travel with others determining plans for reopening after voluntary closures. The American Hotel & Lodging Association has launched the “Safe Stay” initiative to provide guidance to lodging operations moving through reopening procedures. In addition, lodging providers can access final employer guidelines specific to Oregon here. See specific guidance for outdoor recreation organizations here.
Restaurant, bars, breweries, tasting rooms, and distilleries were all given the go ahead to open in Oregon’s Phase One plan. Timelines associated with opening these hospitality businesses will be contingent upon the approval of county plans. Some counties will have their plans reviewed by the Oregon Health Authority as early as today, May 8 which paves the way for a potential May 15 opening. ORLA was successful in advocating for the removal of an initial plan to have foodservice operators document the movements of their customers. In addition, there was agreement to remove the percentage space requirement emerging in many states which caps capacity at levels from 25 to 50% of maximum occupancy. In Oregon, there is no such requirement. Operators will be required to ensure physical distance of 6 feet between associated parties of 10 or less. You can view the final guidance for Oregon’s foodservice and beverage industry here. Arbitrary restrictions including a 10pm cutoff for dining room services in Phase One as well as partial opening of barstools/bar seating in specific scenarios continue to be industry concerns we hope to address in Phase Two guidelines.
There is a great deal left to accomplish. In the coming weeks, we will be:
If you haven’t already, make sure we have the best email address for you as an industry operator. In addition, you can sign up for ORLA text message alerts (by texting ORLA to 52886) so you have the intelligence we gather in real time.
[May 1, 2020] - This Week's Updates
[April 30, 2020] - Making Progress Towards Reopening, More to Be Done
Friends of Oregon Hospitality -
Throughout the month of April, ORLA has been focused on building momentum for industry relief efforts. We have made some progress on behalf of the hospitality industry, but more needs to be accomplished. We have also been focused on sharing your stories for Oregonians to better understand the devastating impacts of an Oregon economic shutdown and how it is felt in all corners of our state, particularly for those in the restaurants and lodging industries.
It is time to switch gears. According to the latest data from the Oregon Health Authority, we are successfully flattening the curve. And in many areas of Oregon, there is no curve to flatten.
In our last video address, we emphasized the importance of creating a framework for reopening Oregon’s hospitality industry. Trends are pointing toward reopening dining rooms, counter service operations, bars, and tasting rooms as part of a Phase One plan in Oregon. The opening of lodging operations beyond essential worker travel is also possible in Phase Two.
We want to thank the hospitality businesses across the state that have shared their recovery plans with us. Those plans have helped us to provide the industry expertise needed to push for practical reopening guidelines for that are as safe as possible for employees and customers.
In our latest communication, we outlined four industry imperatives for Governor Brown and her professional staff:
Please take a moment to view our comments in their entirety on the “COVID-19 Alerts & Resources” page. As we continue to work with the Governor’s office to develop these protocols, we will share information as soon as it becomes available to better help you and your teams prepare for this unprecedented reopening phase.
The coming weeks will prove crucial. Let’s work together to better understand the benchmarks we must meet to instill confidence in Oregonians that we have the health care capacity we need to meet demand and protect the health and safety of Oregonians, while getting serious about reopening our economy in a safe and responsible way.
[April 17, 2020] - Latest Reopening Plans from Governor's Office
Earlier today the Governor’s Chief of Staff Nik Blosser walked us through the slide deck on what an Oregon reopening framework looks like. Click the button to view the latest version (v.4) of the Public Health Framework for Restarting Public Life and Business:
The following our my takeaways from the presentation:
As a reminder, consider participating in one of our upcoming Virtual Town Halls.
[April 8, 2020]
Yesterday, Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order 20-14 aligning Oregon’s current dine-in prohibition with thousands of other closed businesses across the state under Oregon’s ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ order. Drive through, takeout, and delivery services remain optional for restaurants interested in operating at limited capacities. Lodging operations remain open in some cases to serve accommodation needs related to COVID-19 orders issued by Brown.
Oregon has clearly been successful in flattening the curve and that is a testament to our health care industry and the work which continues across our state. I have found this resource to be more helpful than most in tracking the peaks of Covid-19 on a case by case basis across the country:
In utilizing this tool for Oregon, modeling suggests our state will experience peak demand for health care services on April 24. If you start randomly choosing other states through the tool you will find that the economically painful mitigation efforts Oregon has taken have directly helped save lives.
In reviewing the data, it seems Oregon will be better positioned than most states to continue the crucial conversation of what relaxing social distancing policies looks like. How do we turn the corner for Oregon’s hospitality businesses and our approximately 200,000 employees? What does rebuild look like and over what duration?
ORLA is committed to leading alongside other business organizations in making sure the State of Oregon relaxes social distancing policies in line with a data driven approach. If the above projection holds true, Oregon should be positioned to gradually relax some restrictions as early as May. And we certainly hope that will be the case.
It is on all of us to demonstrate how we can hold the line on Oregon’s current peak projection and continue the sacrifices we are all making as we move through COVID-19 case decline later this month. When the data forecasts showcase a reduction in second wave risk, we need to move quickly to get Oregon in a position to rebuild. I believe this state can be a leader in that race. If you have ideas of how full proof social distancing procedures could be implemented in your business, please share your thoughts with me via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
[April 1, 2020]
Today, Governor Kate Brown announced a 90-day moratorium on commercial evictions across Oregon. Executive Order 20-13 represents decisive action by Governor Brown to protect Oregon hospitality businesses and assist them in planning out a path to recovery. Our goal in working with all partners is to do whatever we can to assist our state in winning the race to recovery while keeping as many Oregonians employed as possible.
Governor Brown’s executive order states “a temporary moratorium on terminations of residential and nonresidential rental agreements and evictions on the basis of nonpayment is necessary during this emergency, to protect the public health, safety and welfare of all Oregonians. The moratorium set forth in this Executive Order is temporary, with a limited scope and duration. It addresses the immediate needs identified above, pursuant to my emergency powers, but does not otherwise undermine contractual bargains, interfere with parties' reasonable expectations, or prevent parties from safeguarding or reinstating their rights. The directives of this Executive Order are appropriate, necessary, and reasonable means by which to implement the significant and legitimate public purpose of responding to the declaration of a state of emergency I issued on March 8, 2020.”
ORLA continues to advocate for ongoing relief in partnership with federal, state, and local elected leaders. To view ORLA’s relief framework and add your business to the list of supporters click here: Sign On to ORLA's Proposed Relief Efforts.
[March 30, 2020]
In this morning's video address to the industry, I cover the following updates:
In case you missed it, ORLA created a Hospitality Action & Relief Center to help connect small businesses and their employees with ongoing statewide advocacy priorities and relief outcomes. Be sure to see the list of Relief Available for Employers & Employees we are constantly updating, as well as ORLA's Proposed Relief Efforts.
With the passage of the CARES Act, signed into law March 27, new relief opportunities are now available including: Paycheck Protection Program, Employee Retention Tax Credit, Qualified Improvement Property fix, and SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Grants. Read more on our Federal Action Taken page.
[March 26, 2020]
The following update is being provided to the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association as a result of ongoing national partnerships taking place between the National Restaurant Association, American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association. A special thanks to Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at the National Restaurant Association for the following summary on our nation’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”):
Last night, congressional leaders finally released the final text of their $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package. The agreement includes a dramatic expansion of unemployment insurance, a rescue fund for state and local governments, immediate cash for hospitals, and a huge pool of grants and loans for small businesses.
Passage in both chambers is all but assured – the only question is one of timing. The Senate is on a path to pass the bill this evening. Timing of a House bill remains murky. A vote Thursday night or Friday morning is likely. President Trump is likely to sign the bill very soon thereafter.
Our formal assessment of the bill is attached. Overall the bill is very strong, with many provisions that specifically reflect our Association’s asks from last week. Here are the highlights of the deal:
The measure creates a $349 billion program for the SBA to offer unique loans to small businesses (500 or fewer employees). The loan amount is based on 250% of the borrower’s average monthly payroll cost for the preceding year (provisions for seasonal employers are included), up to $10 million. Collateral requirements are waived, and the “credit elsewhere” requirements (which have slowed down the process) have been waived as well. The loan is forgiven if used for payroll costs, mortgage interest, or rent/utilities.
The agreement offers restaurant owners relief in the form of Net Operating Loss (NOL) carrybacks, delay of payment of employer payroll taxes, and an Employee Retention Tax Credit.
Qualified Improvement Property
At long last, restaurants can immediately write off costs associated with improving facilities. The QIP fix is complete.
[March 25, 2020] - To Friends of Oregon Hospitality,
The following update was provided by our friends at the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the National Restaurant Association. Democratic Leader Schumer released a letter to his colleagues identifying what was secured in the bill. A summary of Democratic Leader Schumer’s list is below and ORLA will be working closely with our national partners today and tomorrow as the federal package moves through crucial votes and gets finalized.
President & CEO
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
[March 23, 2020] - Hello Friends of Oregon Hospitality:
Today, Governor Kate Brown executed Executive Order 20-12 which requires non-essential businesses outlined in the order to close effective 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 24. Here are comments from ORLA regarding the new executive order and what it means for Oregon’s restaurant and lodging operations:
President & CEO
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
[March 20, 2020] - ORLA continues to take unprecedented steps to engage in every possible way on COVID-19 in support of Oregon Hospitality. In the last 36 hours, significant updates have been added online to ORLA’s website which has been redesigned to hone in on the needs of industry members looking for answers in an ever changing environment.
The following steps have been taken in the past 36 hours:
President & CEO
[March 18, 2020] - ORLA CEO UPDATE FOR OREGON'S HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
The ORLA team is working at a feverish pitch to provide the resources and opportunities restaurant and lodging businesses need to stay engaged and make a difference as we weather this monumental storm together. We have a laser-like focus on all things COVID-19 in service to you, our hospitality industry partners. Please see below for high level updates from our recent activities over the past day as we continue moving through an unprecedented workload:
Please stay strong and utilize the skill sets available to you on the ORLA professional staff. Our Government Affairs Team and our Regional Representatives on the ground are here to serve each of you, every day, until we get through this together.
President & CEO
[March 16, 2020] - STATEMENT BY ORLA PRESIDENT & CEO JASON BRANDT
Restaurants across Oregon serve as cornerstones of our local economies employing more than 155,000 people. From urban centers to rural towns, thousands of establishments provide us with places to break bread with family, friends, and build community.
Most of us know the experience of a favorite local restaurant, filled with familiar faces and employees who know us by name. Right now, that restaurant is hurting -- and the workers and families who depend on our patronage are wondering how they will put food on the table.
Effective midnight tonight (at 12:01 a.m., March 17, 2020), Governor Brown has ordered all dining rooms across Oregon to close over a 4 week period. This decision will have immediate and immeasurable impacts on thousands of Oregon families who depend on Oregon’s restaurant industry for a paycheck. Immediate unemployment insurance relief is crucial with a removal of the one-week waiting period and removal of the search for work requirement. Additional relief needs will also prove crucial for Oregon’s broader hospitality industry and all impacted employees.
The social distancing required to slow the spread of COVID-19 means we need to temporarily change our lives, especially around our favorite gathering spaces as recently announced by Oregon Governor Kate Brown and many health experts from around the world. Oregonians must not forget about the families and workers whose lives depend on restaurants, bars, wineries and brewpubs during this time. They need our support, and that is why our industry is mobilizing to expand take-out and delivery options to serve our customers over the coming weeks. If we can't eat out, now is the time for Oregonians to order in.
We must stay resolved and committed to the important role of hospitality to our economy, culture and everyday lives. Once these social isolation measures lift, Oregonians all share a collective responsibility to do our part to quickly return to our favorite gathering spots and put paychecks back onto the kitchen tables of hundreds of thousands of Oregon families who may not get one over the coming months.
[March 12, 2020] - ORLA CEO UPDATE FOR OREGON'S HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) exists to protect, improve, and promote Oregon hospitality. We find ourselves in an incredibly challenging situation as our industry works to mitigate panic around the growing concern of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Oregon and throughout the country.
As of last night, Governor Kate Brown has declared a ban on gatherings of 250 people or more in Oregon over the course of the next 4 weeks. This will undoubtedly have an immeasurable impact on industry employees and business operations. ORLA will continue to keep lines of communication open with the Governor’s office, the Oregon Health Authority, and other key leaders in our state as we work to gather data on the economic impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) threat is having and as we seek relief for impacted hospitality employees and businesses.
The following list summarizes work being conducted at ORLA on your behalf. Please save this email for reference and share as needed.
All hospitality businesses in Oregon have access to ORLA’s coronavirus resource page at OregonRLA.org/covid19. The following site represents our digital headquarters for all resource links, employer tips, safety guidelines, and decontamination services. This site will be updated regularly as we continue responding to industry needs in partnership with the National Restaurant Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association.
ORLA’s Online Member Portal
Additional work is being put into document development for ORLA members beyond the resource page linked above. A member login and password for this section is required. Primary documents behind ORLA’s member wall in the Resource Library include template examples members can use as a starting point for how to communicate with both employees and customers. If you need access to your ORLA User Name and Password, please reach out directly to Jennifer Starr via email at email@example.com.
Advocacy on behalf of Oregon Hospitality
Your statewide association is working to make sure key elected officials understand the economic impact of decisions being made as they work in partnership with public health officials to manage the spread of the coronavirus. A term called ‘flattening the curve’ is the ultimate goal of elected leaders and public health officials. The term represents an effort to keep demand for coronavirus health care services at or below the capacity of our state’s health care system. The short term effect will directly correlate to economic loss and as such, we need to collect data now to best represent relief needs of the industry in association with our national partners. Please stay tuned as ORLA develops ongoing survey outreach in an effort to track the magnitude of the impact so we can best represent the needs of your business and your employees.
In addition, we are asking the Governor’s office for consideration against any travel bans in Oregon as well as relief for Oregon hospitality employers and employees. Focus areas for us to date include:
Stay Up To Date with Push Notifications
The situation relating to coronavirus is changing on a daily basis. As a result, we are repurposing our mobile push notifications in the short term for coronavirus updates including actions you can take to assist us at ORLA in representing your interests. Text “ORLA” to 52886 to get signed up as we work to gather economic data on industry impact and keep you apprised of the latest developments. Confidentiality relating to any data shared will be a top priority for us.
I’ll close by saying it continues to be an honor for those of us on ORLA’s professional staff to serve Oregon hospitality. We believe in the importance of integrity and transparency in all that we do and you have our commitment to continue walking alongside each of you as we collectively navigate our current challenges and those that we will face together in the future.
President & CEO