Association seeks unemployment insurance relief 

The Washington Hospitality Association’s State Government Affairs Team is working on a proposal to lower unemployment insurance rates before the first payment is due at the end of April. If the team gets an unemployment insurance relief bill to the governor’s desk for signing by February, the Employment Security Department may implement the changes. Read more here.

Updated guidance for restaurants, hotel gyms and pools, bowling alleys 

Gov. Jay Inslee’s office on Jan. 11, 2021, announced updated guidance for his Healthy Washington—Roadmap to Recovery plan.

 

Here’s what’s new for hospitality in this latest round of guidance.

Need your voice: Support immediate Phase 2 reopening bill

This is your opportunity to sign in to support and provide written or verbal testimony on an exciting bill that would reopen indoor dining. Senate Bill 5114 as proposed would immediately reopen all businesses, including restaurants, that have been closed since the governor’s restrictions that started in November 2020. Learn more here.

Legislators support restaurants in Senate debate 

Today is day four of the 2021 legislative session and some state lawmakers are showing support for immediately opening restaurants and fitness centers. Watch Sen. John Braun (R-Centralia) debate this point here and click here to receive the association’s weekly insider look at what is playing out at the capitol this legislative session.

Association continues advocacy for RESTAURANTS Act  

When the last federal coronavirus relief bill passed in December, the Washington Hospitality Association said it was a down payment on relief needed to support the industry. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said coronavirus relief would be one of the Senate’s first orders of business under the new Congress. President-Elect Joe Biden has made similar statements about actions his administration will take in first 100 days.

 

On Wednesday, the association sent letters to Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell asking both to support including restaurant specific relief, such as the RESTAURANTS Act, in the new federal relief package being drafted. Read the letter here.

[Seattle] Applications open for $2.17M in assistance for hospitality workers impacted by coronavirus

Hospitality workers living and working in Seattle who have lost jobs or income because of coronavirus pandemic are eligible for direct cash assistance. The city of Seattle has opened applications for the program and says $2.17 million in direct cash assistance is available. For details, click here.

2021 overtime rules in effect now  

Along with the announcements of minimum wage that took effect on Jan. 1, the Department of Labor & Industries announced its overtime threshold for 2021. This applies to employees that are classified as executive, administrative and professional (EAP). Read more here.

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month 

Human trafficking is the third-largest criminal activity in the world and impacts every industry. The Washington Hospitality Association fights against trafficking by serving on the Washington State Task Force Against the Trafficking of Persons. Learn how to combat trafficking with this flyer from the AHLA Foundation, click here.

Sign up for our coronavirus text alert resource  

Get updated on the latest decisions and developments in the coronavirus situation within Washington state in real time from your mobile device by signing up for text alerts. There are two ways to sign up for our mobile text alert resource:

Text “COVID19” to 52886

or

Click here and sign up.

Webinars

[WEBINAR] Open-air guidance Q&A session

Washington state released guidance for open-air seating this week and we know you have questions. Join us at 10 a.m. Jan. 22 for an informative webinar that will discuss this new guidance with Josh McDonald of the Washington Wine Institute, Anne McGrath of the Washington Brewers Guild and representatives from the Liquor and Cannabis Board and Department of Health. Register here.

Moving to self-delivery is easier than you think 

At 10 a.m. on Jan. 26, we will host a webinar with association program partner ShiftPixy on their technology solution that can switch members to self-delivery. No more relying on third-party delivery apps. No more crazy commission fees. Register here.

Industry Roundup

Washington releases increasingly elaborate guidelines for outdoor dining (Eater)

Hilton CEO discusses impact of COVID-19, plans for future (TravelPulse)

Gourmondo CEO says her company had to ‘reset’ to survive COVID-19 (Puget Sound Business Journal)

Women and Children’s Free Restaurant provides 1 million meals during pandemic (KXLY)

Palisociety acquires ARRIVE hotels and restaurants (Lodging)

Local senators vote against extending lockdown proclamations (Columbia Basin Herald)