National Affiliates Working on Behalf of the Industry
Prioritize Hotel Employees for COVID-19 Vaccinations
AHLA and UNITE HERE! recently joined together to ask the nation’s governors to prioritize hotel workers for COVID-19 vaccinations. Hotels have been utilized as places to quarantine and house first responders and medical professionals throughout the pandemic, and hotel employees remain on the front lines every day. Now, we need your help! Please add your name to a letter to tell your Governor to prioritize hotel employees for COVID-19 vaccinations! Lending your name will help show strength in numbers as we continue to call on Governors across the country to prioritize our industry’s workforce in the vaccine distribution process.AHLA Develops Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Information Website
AHLA wants to ensure that our members have the necessary resources to properly educate and encourage employees to get vaccinated. The association developed a resource center, Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Information, on their Safe Stay website that features the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health organizations aimed at maximizing employee participation in the vaccination process.
Federal Stimulus Bill Passed with 2nd Round of PPP
On January 6, 2021, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released several interim final rules related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the second draw of PPP loans as outlined in the recently passed Economic Aid Act. On January 15, 2021, President-elect Biden announced his framework for an American Rescue Plan (ARP), a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill (read summary).
For more information and updates, visit SBA.gov/PPP and Treasury.gov/CARES.
On December 21st, Congress passed a $900 billion relief bill to provide short-term economic relief to the country in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The plan includes several items that will benefit restaurants, most importantly a second round of access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), with unique provisions aimed to assist the restaurant industry, which continues to endure unparalleled job and revenue losses. President Donald Trump signed the coronavirus stimulus package and the annual spending bill into law December 27.
Prioritizing hotel employees for inclusion in phase 1b distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine
As COVID-19 vaccinations have begun and decisions for the coming phases of distribution are being made, this letter was sent by the American Hotel & Lodging Association to the National Governors Association and all of the nation’s governors asking asking them to prioritize hotel employees as states finalize recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The hotel industry has a longstanding commitment to cleanliness and safety for our employees and guests and rolled out our Safe Stay Guidelines to elevate our cleaning and disinfection efforts even further.
RESTAURANTS BLUEPRINT FOR REVIVAL
The restaurant industry is projected to lose $240 billion this year and we need more help from Congress to survive this pandemic. The National Restaurant Association has given Congress a roadmap for action – that calls for either enacting our Restaurant Recovery Fund or implement a targeted second-round of PPP for our industry – as well as other asks that will allow us to keep our doors open for the long haul, and serve the communities we call home. Read more in the Blueprint for Revival summary.
THE HOPE ACT
Recently, Representatives Van Taylor (R-TX), Al Lawson (D-FL), and Andy Barr (R-KY) introduced bipartisan legislation, The Helping Open Properties Endeavor (HOPE) Act (H.R. 7809). This legislation would provide borrowers of commercial mortgages with financial assistance through the HOPE Preferred Equity lending facility. The bill would help prevent commercial real estate foreclosures and protect jobs in the hospitality industry. The hotel industry supports the HOPE Act to give struggling small business hotels an opportunity to keep their doors open and avoid foreclosure. View the letter ORLA signed on to urging Members of Congress to cosponsor and pass the HOPE Act to keep hotels open for business and position America’s tourism industry to survive and recovery when the public health crisis subsides.
THE HEALS ACT
More information is now available on the Health Economic Assistance Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) proposal by Senate Republicans. Negotiations between the two parties are not expected to continue until September, despite Congress facing the expiration of 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 would be 70% of the recipient current wages -- but this will be a starting point for the negotiations. Read more on federal action taken.
SAFE TO WORK ACT
The American Hotel and Lodging Association and the U.S. Chamber have coordinated a sign-on letter in support of the liability protection provisions contained in S. 4317, the “SAFE TO WORK Act.” These crucial protections would safeguard healthcare workers, providers, and facilities, as well as businesses, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions against unfair lawsuits so they can continue to contribute to a safe and effective economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. ORLA signed on to this letter, read here.
CONGRESS PASSES FIXES TO THE PPP
Update 7.2.20 - Both the House and Senate passed an extension of the PPP lending deadline from June 30 to August 8 and President Trump is expected to sign the legislation soon. This will revive the $610 billion small business aid program and make the remaining funds available for additional applications.
Update 6.3.20 - In an enormous win for our industry, the Senate approved by unanimous consent H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act. The bill changed the 8-week covered period into a 24-week covered period. It will also adjust the current 75/25 split into a 60/40 split for payroll costs versus other costs. Loan forgiveness will still apply if FTEs won’t come back, or if revenue in December is below February 2020 levels. Payroll tax deferment will also be restored. Future PPP loans taken out will have five year loan-repayment terms.
To read more specifics included in the bill, visit the National Restaurant Association’s legislative assessment and the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s legislative overview.
Thank you to all of you who have engaged in our advocacy efforts to help get these changes to the finish line!
ORLA JOINS NATIONAL PARTNERS IN FIGHT FOR LIABILITY PROTECTIONS
AHLA and the business community continue to seek temporary and targeted liability relief related to COVID-19 exposure as the next federal legislative package is developed. To that end, ORLA joined AHLA in signing on to the attached US Chamber-led letter seeking federal relief, which was sent to Members of Congress May 27, 2020.
SURVEY REAFFIRMS CONTINUED ACTION NEEDED
The National Restaurant Association's Economics and Research team completed a second nationwide impact survey of restaurant owners and operators to provide data-driven updates on the state of the industry. Armed with this data, the association has called on Congress to enact a new “Blueprint for Recovery” to provide targeted relief for the country's second largest private sector employer. To better prioritize these proposals, the NRA is asking restaurant operators to participate in surveys as they come available.
THE CARES ACT
The $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law on March 27th. The bill includes new relief opportunities including a Paycheck Protection Program, an Employee Retention Tax Credit, a Qualified Improvement Property fix, and SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Grants. Thank you to our partners at the National Restaurant Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association for their work on this package.
The application process for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) opened April 3rd, 2020. Consider contacting the bank where you hold your business banking account or have a current loan to learn if your bank will be participating in the PPP. Update 4.23.20 – Congress has approved and President Trump has signed into law $324 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), as well as $60 billion for the EIDL program. Update 4.27.20 - the National Restaurant Association has submitted a letter to the U.S. Small Business Administration and Congressional leaders regarding changes needed in the Paycheck Protection Program, including the effects of government mandates on loan periods, the 75 percent restriction, and the two year repayment term. See the latest guidance on the Interim Final Rule on Loan Forgiveness (5/22/20).
FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT
The U.S. Department of Labor has been issuing guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), effective April 1st, 2020. The legislation provides additional paid sick leave and unemployment benefits due to COVID-19. The Department of Labor has a number of helpful FAQs on their website, which can be found here.
Additional questions and answers have been provided by law firm Fisher Phillips:
If you have any questions, please reach out to Greg Astley, Director of Government Affairs, at email@example.com or 503.851.1330.