The CEO podcast is a monthly podcast with Washington Hospitality Association President and CEO Anthony Anton. This is a summary of the December edition where Anthony discussed vaccine mandates, the  Omicron variant, and more. Please be aware that we have updated some statistics and added resources for members that may be out of date in the audio version. You can watch the full episode on our YouTube channel or by clicking the banner at the bottom of this page. If you have questions for the next episode, email 

Industry update

  • Win! Bellingham initiative 4 was defeated thanks in part to hard work by our local Government Affairs team. It would have mandated restrictive scheduling for all employers – even ones with safe working conditions.
  • The King County vaccine mandate has gone into effect, and as of Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, previously exempted small bars and restaurants must comply. Initial data is still mixed, but there are pockets of King County that are faring worse off than their Snohomish and Pierce County counterparts.
  • ERTC Support Center – The Washington Hospitality Association, together with our partner Adesso Capital, have helped members secure more than $5 million in Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) funds. To find out if you’re eligible for up to $26,000 per-employee in tax credits, check out the ERTC support center
  • RETRO –  $8.6 million in RETRO checks will be mailed out soon –  keep your eyes out for it and don’t throw it away by accident!

Vaccines mandates and case counts

State dashboard as of Dec. 9, 2021

  • In a recent CEO podcast, Anthony talked to the president of the Washington Hospital Association. Listeners of that episode may know that the number of open beds and total hospitalizations is an important indicator of which way this pandemic is turning that has a huge impact on pandemic policies.  Based on our current trendline in Washington, we are headed in the right direction.
  • Federal vaccine mandates: On Dec. 10, 2021 consolidated cases challenging the federal mandate will be heard in district court. If the Biden administration prevails, it gives operators a very short timeframe to comply.
  • Operators may want to assume it is going to happen so they can avoid scrambling to be compliant by Jan. 4 when employees have to be fully vaccinated. On Jan. 5, those who are not vaccinated will have to start testing to be eligible for work.

Final reminders from Anthony: 

  • The workforce you got now is the workforce you get for a while. Instead of hoping the workforce situation drastically reverses course, think strategically about ways to survive it. Anthony (like many others in the industry) predicts we’ll be in this labor situation for another couple of years.  
  • The Northwest Hospitality Leadership podcast is now going and the second episode on finding the ideal team players is live. The next episode is on motive. The podcasts feature the Table Group, a hospitality-specific consulting group founded by Patrick Lencioni, author of Five Disfunctions of a Team. Once a month we will have new episodes which are full of tips to help you navigate current labor relations and improve your leadership skills at your business, at home and in the rest of your endeavors.