Weekly Update — Reopening bill is our top priority; Lodging tax no longer proposed for city/counties

Weekly Update — Reopening bill is our top priority; Lodging tax no longer proposed for city/counties https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/washingtonHospitalityWeekly_web.png

Reopening bill is our top priority

Senate Bill 5114 and House Bill 1321 would immediately move the entire state to Phase 2, allowing businesses to resume at 25% capacity, and give the legislature the power to determine next steps. Our team participated in a work session Tuesday, and testified in Wednesday’s public hearing in support of the bill. The public hearing set a new record with 1,600 citizens signed in on the bill, and nearly 400 citizens wanting to testify. A bi-partisan House companion to the bill was introduced this week. No action has yet been taken at the committee level on this bill, and we expect an update in the next week or so. Watch Wednesday’s hearing here (starts at the 53-minute mark).

Unemployment insurance relief bill moves forward

Positive movement forward! Senate Bill 5061 would lower unemployment insurance rates before the first payment is due at the end of April 2021 – if the team can get it to the governor’s desk for signing in February. The proposed bill caps tax rates, gives all employers tax relief during the stay-home order time period of March 22–May 30, 2020, and more. This bill was passed out of the Senate Committee on Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs on Jan. 18 and moves forward in the process to the Rules Committee. We may see a Senate vote on this bill next week.

2021 labor posters arriving soon 

The 2021 federal and state labor posters will arrive in your mailbox soon. As always, a free poster is included in your membership. Additional posters can be purchased for just $5. You can fill out an order form by clicking here.

[New Resources] WA Food Code updates  

The Washington State Department of Health is releasing helpful resources to prepare for the new Food Code updates. Based on public comment during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the Washington State Board of Health chose to stagger the phase-in dates for the new Food Code updates. Some of the updates took effect Jan. 15 and the effective date for the rest of the changes was extended to March 1, 2022. Read more here.

[WIN] Lodging Tax no longer proposed for city/county revenues

As initially proposed, House Bill 1069 would have raided local lodging tax funds, meant to support tourism marketing, to cover a drop in revenues of local counties and cities. Our team was able to get lodging taxes removed as a revenue source in this bill. We will keep an eye on how it progresses to make sure this win is not reversed.

[WIN] Bag ban start date delay heads to governor’s desk 

The Senate and the House on Jan. 18 both signed a resolution that would extend the start date of the new plastic bag ban until the termination of the state of emergency declared by Gov. Jay Inslee. This would dramatically lengthen the phase-in date from Jan. 30. It’s not a done deal until Inslee signs, and you can read more about the ban here.

Did you register for Hill Climb? Check your email for exclusive access

Hill Climb is at 10 a.m. on Monday and we have plenty of material for you to go with it. If you have registered, be sure to check your email tomorrow–we’ll send you credentials to sign in for exclusive Hill Climb materials in our secure briefing portal.

Thurston County extends food establishment permit expiration dates by six months 

Food establishment permit expiration dates will extend by six months, after a unanimous vote by the Thurston County Board of Health. Those permits were slated to expire on Jan. 31. This extension will allow more than 1,083 food establishment permit holders to delay renewal payments as a result of pandemic restrictions. However, the extension does not apply to all food permits. For details, click here.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health offers some extensions, refunds or waives late fees  

To support bars and restaurants during the pandemic, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is adjusting some fees related to foodservice. For details, click here.

Sign up today for Legislative News

Find out the latest in the Legislative News email. Every Friday during the session, you’ll receive a recap of the bills we are working on and what is coming in the week ahead. Email Lisa Leinberger at lisalcontractor@wahospitality.org and we can add you to the list.

Webinars

[Webinar] Open-air dining guidance 

Join us at 10 a.m. Jan. 22, with guests from the Liquor Control Board and the Department of Health, the Washington Wine Institute and from the Washington Brewers Guild to discuss open-air dining guidance. Click here to register.

[Webinar] Self-delivery: Say no to commission fees  

No commission fees. No giving away your profits. Drive your customers to your website with self-delivery. Employee driver insurance is covered and you have the option of using your employees as drivers or acquiring vetted ones as you need them. Get your questions answered in our self-delivery webinar at 10 a.m. on Jan. 26. Register here.

[Webinar] Rick Braa Q&A 

Join us at 10 a.m. Jan. 27 for our monthly conversation with Washington Hospitality Association Advisory Network Consultant Rick Braa. This month, we’ll talk about the new Paycheck Protection Program rules. Click here to register.

Training

ServSafe Manager Online is here to stay

Washington can’t have in-person ServSafe Manager classes, but your employees can still get certified online. Employees can take the course and exam with an online proctor, all from the safety of their own homes, at their own pace. Register here.

Industry Roundup

Bill to speed reopening of businesses draws lots of fans but faces uphill battle (Seattle Times)

Vancouver restaurant owners ask lawmakers to speed reopening for businesses (The Columbian)

Protection preparedness: Don’t forget about fire safety (Lodging)

Local restaurant opens doors for dine-in but is still concerned for the future(KXLY)

COVID-19’s blow to business travel expected to last for years (FOX Business)