During this unprecedented time, the Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association continues to respond to the challenges COVID-19 presents across Oklahoma's hospitality industry. We remain in close and constant communications with our state and national leaders and support organizations, including the Governors office, Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce, our legislative leaders both statewide and federal, NRA, AH&LA, and others. We will vigorously fight for our industry and are always available for your questions, comments, and concerns at email@example.com.
* 11/18/20 Staggering Survey Results: 71% of Hotels Won't Survive Another 6 Months Without Further Government Relief - With a resurgence of COVID-19 and renewed travel restrictions, a new survey by AHLA shows that the hotel industry will continue to face devastation and significant job loss without additional relief from Congress. You can read the full survey here.
* 11/17/20 Governor Issues Emergency Order Affecting Restaurants - Yesterday, Governor Stitt issued an Emergency Order that directly impacts our industry's operations for the next 30 days. You can read the relevant parts of the Governor's order by clicking here.
* 11/11/20 New PPP Survey - Congress has indicated willingness to consider a COVID-19 package. We need your help to show the need for hotel industry relief. AHLA is conducting a survey of members regarding the impact of the virus as well as the need for further government relief. AHLA is seeking information regarding:
How you would use a second PPP loan, if it were available
The impact it would have on your business
Your business' current situation
* 11/9/20 Legal Analysis of What to Expect in a President Biden Administration for Employers and Employees - It appears to be official: unless the election results can be overturned in several states, Joe Biden will soon be our nation’s 46th president. Now the work begins to forecast what the next four years will bring. Here are several predictions in 11 key areas.
* 11/4/20 AD Valorem Tax: Extension - Yesterday, OH&LA on behalf of its board of directors sent a letter to Governor Kevin Stitt requesting a 6 to 8-month extension of the deadline for payment of the ad valorem tax and a waiver of the interest and penalties under the statutory authority of County Treasurers set forth in 68 O.S Sec. 2913. It is our hope that the request will be approved and it will provide additional assistance to hotel operators in Oklahoma. We will keep members informed about developments. Click here to read the letter.
* 11/4/20 2020 Election Update- At this moment, the Presidential race and a number of key Congressional election contests are still undecided or too close to call. The race for the White House could drag on for days and possibly weeks, with legal challenges expected in closely contested states.
Our partners at AHLA expect that control of Congress will be divided, with Republicans likely maintaining control of the Senate, and Democrats holding the House with a slimmer majority. This scenario would create a system of checks and balances which could lead to bipartisan compromises on a number of key issues, most importantly on the issue of COVID relief for our industry.
Together, AHLA and OH&LA will continue to press Congressional leaders to reach a bipartisan, bicameral deal to provide additional relief and liquidity for the hotel industry, which has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
11/2/20 Register for Next Week's Post-Election Analysis Webinar - Join AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers and Government Affairs EVP Brian Crawford on November 5th at 1pm as they break down the election results, provide post-election analysis and discuss what the results could mean for the future of our industry. Click here to register!
* 10/30/20 Stars of the Industry Awards - OH&LA has built a 20+ year history of recognizing Oklahoma's BEST in the hotel industry, and in 2020 we will continue this tradition. Now more than ever, it is important to recognize employees who during the pandemic are taking on duties far above and beyond their everyday roles. We want to celebrate those professionals who make our industry extraordinary even in times of difficulty. Let OHLA help you demonstrate the value of your most outstanding employees - and nominate for Stars of the Industry Awards. STARS will shine a much-needed light on those who are leading the charge to recovery. Click here to view the latest categories and criteria and nominate your employees by November 21, 2020. The award ceremony will take place on January 13, 2021.
Want to become a Stars category Partner? This year's event will be more special than ever with all our industry has endured. Contact Linda Etherton to discuss category options. This is the perfect way to spotlight your company at our premier annual event, show your appreciation for Oklahoma hotels, and help support the Association during this time.
* 10/28/20 ORA Expo Postponed Until Aug 18-19 - After much deliberation, the ORA's Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 ORA Expo until next year, August 18-19, 2021. As you may know, OH&LA co-sponsors the ORA Expo.
Everyone at the OH&LA understands and appreciates the time, effort and resources that exhibitors have put into preparing for the Expo this year. Similarly, the ORA staff has been immersed in preparations, and we were looking forward to bringing hospitality together once again to provide connections for new products, education and professional engagement. Unfortunately, this year due to the continued spread of COVID-19, and the importance of health and well-being of those attending, we will not be able to deliver the ORA Expo experience you deserve.
As you already know, we are an incredibly resilient industry. We share your disappointment, but we are also energized by the possibility of new opportunities to gather again in 2021.
* 10/22/20 CDC’s Latest COVID-19 Guidance Complicates Contact Tracing Procedures - New COVID-19 contact tracing procedures released by the federal government have expanded the category of individuals who are deemed to be in close contact with each other – and will complicate the already difficult task faced by employers when trying to maintain a safe workplace environment. The updated guidance now indicates that workers should be considered to be at risk of contracting the virus if they were within six feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes even if the interactions that lead to a cumulative total of 15 minutes were brief and spread out over that time. What should employers do? Learn more.
* 10/22/20 STR Report: August 2020 - To view a copy of the STR September 2020 Oklahoma and U. S. Industry Overview, click here.
* 10/19/20 Prevention of Human Trafficking: How Your Hotel Can Make an Impact - Last week, thanks to a partnership between OH&LA and Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking (BEST), many attended a webinar outlining trafficking prevention and complimentary training now available to all OH&LA member property employees. Human traffickers continue to plague businesses across the country as they exploit victims in the privacy of hotel rooms. With proper training and protocols to recognize and prevent these horrendous crimes, hotels can be a victim's hero.
To view the BEST session click here. To enroll an employee for online training at no cost or to obtain more information click here. All you or an employee needs for training is to log-in and obtain the training enrollment code. For assistance, contact Patti Colley at OH&LA.
* 10/14/20 - 10/16/20 AHLA Survey - Congress MUST Act! - With just three weeks until the election and a stalemate in Washington over an additional economic stimulus bill, a new survey commissioned by AHLA shows that Americans strongly support Congress remaining in session until an agreement can be reached.
The new survey comes on the heels of an announcement Tuesday morning by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stating that the Senate will vote on new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) sometime next week.
Key findings of the survey include:
We will continue advancing our message that Congress must together to help the most affected small businesses and employees, including and especially, ours to survive this crisis.
To that end, please continue to participate in the HotelsACT Action Alert reminding Congress that the time for them to act is now!
* 10/12/20 Register for Tomorrow's: OH&LA Employee Onboarding Webinar - Human traffickers continue to plague businesses across the country as they exploit victims in the privacy of hotel rooms. Many hotels still lack the proper training and protocol to recognize and prevent these horrendous crimes. However, thanks to a partnership between Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking (BEST) and OH&LA, complimentary training is now available to all OH&LA members. Join us on October 13th at 2pm to learn how to recognize common indicators of trafficking and the steps hoteliers can take to prevent exploitation. Register here!
* 10/9/20 Register for the ORA Expo December 2-3, 2020 - With the reopening of Oklahoma, restaurants are back in business and operators are searching for the latest and greatest to help build their success. The ORA Expo at OK State Fair Park in Oklahoma City is considered the best opportunity of the year for you to connect with other professionals, as well as food manufacturers and various suppliers who are eager to show off their best in hospitality products and services.
It is also known as Oklahoma's largest industry trade show and the most important of the year for foodservice and hospitality industry professionals, as it will offer exciting educational sessions, demonstrations, and networking! Easy access, convenient parking, and tons of ORA hospitality make this an event you don't want to miss! The ORA Expo is presented in partnership with the Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association and the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association.
For the health and safety of attendees and exhibitors, the ORA Expo Promise has been carefully designed and will be enforced to provide numerous health and safety measures for both attendees and exhibitors. Click here to view the Expo Promise.
* 10/7/20 OH&LA Employee Onboarding Webinar - Human Trafficking & the Role of Hospitality - Human traffickers continue to plague businesses across the country as they exploit victims in the privacy of hotel rooms. Many hotels still lack the proper training and protocol to recognize and prevent these horrendous crimes. However, thanks to a partnership between Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking (BEST) and OH&LA, complimentary training is now available to all OH&LA members. Join us on October 13th at 2pm to learn how to recognize common indicators of trafficking and the steps hoteliers can take to prevent exploitation. Register here!
* 10/6/20 STR 2021 Forecast Data - Because we know many of our member hotels are still forecasting their occupancy and revenues for next year we’re providing another opportunity to access our STR 2021 Forecasting Data. Use this link to download a free copy of the presentation. This document will also be permanently housed at Oklahomahotels.org under the Resources Tab.
* 10/2/20 OH&LA Joins List of Organizations Pleading for Funding -
As Congress winds down legislative activity and soon heads home for the remainder of campaign season, AHLA and our travel and hospitality industry allies continue to seek immediate action on further relief efforts. To underscore the urgency of our request, a letter has been sent to Congressional leaders, cosigned by AHLA, OHLA IFA, US Travel, and others.
The Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association has added its name to the list of more than 150 other organizations stressing the need for bipartisan funding for small businesses. Click here for a copy of the group letter sent to Congress and here for a copy of a press release that will be issued to national media. A modified version will be issued to Oklahoma media. The support of state associations on this letter will further reiterate to Members of Congress the importance of further relief on jobs and businesses in their states and communities.
* 9/30/20 Meeting with Congressman Tom Cole - This morning, Chip Rogers and Chris Burgoyne of AHLA, along with OHLA's Patti Colley met with OK-4th District Congressman Tom Cole to discuss the effects of the pandemic on the lodging industry and primarily Oklahoma hotels. OHLA wants to thank 4th District constituents, Gabby Trad of Partners In Hospitality, Ryan Parker of Tradition's Spirits and Riverwind Hotel, and Pete Patel of Promise Hotels for participating in today's call and for sharing their personal stories of how the pandemic has effected their hotel operations, employees and guests. Specifically, we requested a streamlining of the process of burdensome forms for SBA loans; loan forgiveness, the need for more guidance to be provided to banking institutions who issue the loans. Congressman Cole reported that more than 65,000 loans and $5.6 billion dollars in loans were issued in Oklahoma. We also asked for more support on Main Street Lending - especially if the next round of PPP is not agreed upon. Additionally, we will receive the Congressman's support of Helping Open Properties Endeavor (HOPE) Act (H.R. 7809), bipartisan legislation to provide borrowers of commercial mortgages with financial assistance through the HOPE Preferred Equity lending facility. The bill will help prevent commercial real estate foreclosures and protect jobs in the hospitality industry. OH&LA, the AHLA, and other state lodging associations are urging Congress to quickly pass this legislation to keep hotels open for business and position America’s tourism industry to survive and recover when the public health crisis subsides.
* 9/29/20 Let's Do Our Part to Save Our Industry! - Right now we're doing everything we can to help our industry. But what really moves the needle is hearing from the people working in hotels like you!!! If we are going to have any chance for Congress to pass more relief this year, we need every single person who is connected to our industry to reach out to their members of Congress. Reach out to Congress. If you have done this, ask ALL of your colleagues to do the same. It's so important.
* 9/25/20 Centrist Democrats 'Strongly Considering' Discharge Petition on GOP PPP Bill - A number of moderate House Democrats are on the cusp of endorsing a GOP resolution to force a vote on emergency aid for small businesses, according to sources familiar with the plan.
The centrist Democrats are "strongly considering" signing on to a procedural measure, known as a discharge petition, designed to force floor action on legislation extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). That figure falls a handful short of the number of Democrats the Republicans need to reach 218 signatures on their discharge petition - the tally required to force legislation to the floor.
But the number is growing, as party moderates become increasingly frustrated with the inability of party leaders to reach a deal with the White House on another round of coronavirus stimulus.
If those centrist Democrats do peel away to join the GOP's gambit, it could also have the political effect of undermining the hardline negotiating strategy of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is seeking a comprehensive, $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package - and has refused to break it apart to vote on any piecemeal provisions.
The PPP was created in March, as part of the CARES Act, to help small businesses survive the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus crisis. The program has delivered hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency loans, which are forgivable if the businesses keep much of their staff on the payroll. But the initiative expired last month, and millions of small businesses around the country are struggling to persevere as the number of U.S. coronavirus deaths has topped 200,000, millions of people remain out of work and consumers remain wary of gathering in public spaces.
With the negotiations stalled over another round of emergency coronavirus relief, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) is poised to submit a discharge petition on Friday to force a vote on legislation to extend the PPP window so that more than $130 billion in unspent funds can go out the door.
The proposal targets the smallest small businesses - $25 billion is earmarked for those with 10 employees or fewer - while allowing certain other businesses to get a second PPP loan.
Discharge petitions rarely work, since it's almost always the minority party that sponsors them, in the long-shot hope of attracting disgruntled members of the majority to buck their own party.
There are currently 198 Republicans in the House, plus one member of the Libertarian Party: Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.). If all of them endorsed Herrera Beutler's petition, they would need 19 Democrats to join their cause to bring the Chabot bill to the floor.
* 9/23/20 #SAVEHOTELJOBS - Over 16,000 letters, calls and tweets were made to members of Congress in the last two weeks and we would love to thank you for your support!
While some activity is underfoot now to get a deal done, we are competing with many other interests for Congress's attention. Which is why it‘s more important than ever that we continue to make our industry top of mind as they discuss relief legislation this week. Please reach out if you have not already or forward this email to your friends and colleagues, and ask that they join us to #SAVEHOTELJOBS. Visit HotelsACT.org or just text the word ’Act‘ to 1-855-471-6143.
* 9/25/20 The Forum Speaker Series - Join AHLA on September 30th at 3pm for an exclusive conversation with Geoff Ballotti, President & CEO, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Leslie Hale, President & CEO, RLJ Lodging Trust and AHLA Executive Committee Member to discuss sessions in leadership and evolving management in times of criss. Register now!
* 9/21/20 OH&LA Employee Onboarding Webinar - Human Trafficking & the Role of Hospitality - Human traffickers continue to plague businesses across the country as they exploit victims in the privacy of hotel rooms. Many hotels still lack the proper training and protocol to recognize and prevent these horrendous crimes. However, thanks to a partnership between Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking (BEST) and OH&LA, complimentary training is now available to all OH&LA members. Join us on October 13th at 2pm to learn how to recognize common indicators of trafficking and the steps hoteliers can take to prevent exploitation. Register here!
* 9/16/20 ACT NOW!!! - We have one last opportunity before election season to advocate to Congress for additional relief. It is imperative that we amplify this message to Congress and demand relief for our still-struggling industry. Help us reflect what‘s happening right now in our push for legislation. We ask that you complete this brief Front Desk Feedback series on the status of your business, six months into the crisis.
This information is critical to our advocacy. All responses will be anonymized, and no individual member information will be shared without explicit permission. The deadline is today!
* 9/16/20 Congresswoman Horn Co-sponsors HOPE Act! - Thank you to Congresswoman Kendra Horn who has signed on as a cosponsor of the Helping Open Properties Endeavor (HOPE) Act (H.R. 7809), bipartisan legislation to provide borrowers of commercial mortgages with financial assistance through the HOPE Preferred Equity lending facility. The bill will help prevent commercial real estate foreclosures and protect jobs in the hospitality industry. OH&LA, the AHLA, and other state lodging associations are urging Congress to quickly pass this legislation to keep hotels open for business and position America‘s tourism industry to survive and recovery when the public health crisis subsides.
* 9/11/20 Lodging Tax Study for 2019 - The American Hotel & Lodging Association in partnership with STR has released the Lodging Tax Study for 2019. The lodging industry takes seriously its commitment to partnering with communities around the country. For nearly ten years, the industry saw tremendous growth, creating jobs and boosting communities. In 2020, the industry has come together to help serve the healthcare workers, first responders, and others impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Another factor of that service to the community comes from significant contributions through tax dollars that go to the local, state and federal governments.
As this study shows, the lodging industry currently imposes a tax rate on its guests, which has stayed fairly stable since 2016. The average total tax is 13.5% with some cities charging guests a total tax rate above 20%*. Further, the study finds multiple levels of taxes which are levied on hotel guests, amounting to up to six or more different types of taxes, fees, and assessments. STR conducted a survey of lodging taxes in 2019 across more than 200 U.S. cities. The study illustrates the total tax rate broken down into the various tax categories, such as state, multi-county, county, city, subcity, sales, and additional flat fees.
* 9/11/20 OKWIL Schedules October 7, 2020 Community Outreach Day - The number of Oklahoma homeless are staggering and that is why The Oklahoma Women In Lodging (OKWIL) has once again elected The Homeless Alliance as its volunteer community outreach partner. On October 7, 2020, OKWIL members will gather at The Homeless Alliance where we’ll volunteer in many different areas of the campus and provide a great opportunity for members to give back to our community! If you would like to attend please click this link and join us on Oct. 7th. For more information contact Theresa Martin at OHLA.
The Homeless Alliance works to end long-term homelessness in Oklahoma City by building the capacity of the community through collaboration with other agencies, identifying and filling gaps in homeless services, bringing nationally-recognized best practices to the community, and working to build a system that is more efficient, rationale, and caring. Click here to learn more about The Homeless Alliance.
If you would like to join us for this worthy cause you can register by completing our group’s online registration form. You will need to set up a profile, select the area you would like to work in, and fill out the online Volunteer Waiver. The Homeless Alliance has strenuous health and safety precautions set up to keep volunteers, as well as clients safe. There are temperature checks upon arrival, mandatory masks and smaller volunteer groups. With winter just around the corner, if you are also able to donate new or gently used winter gear, such as coats, hats, and gloves you may bring them with you the day you volunteer.
* 9/11/20 Online CHIA Workshops - With much of the world working remotely, STR’s SHARE Center is pleased to expand to the virtual world the renowned Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA). From the comfort of your own workspace and time zone, you can join 20,000 professionals and academics in earning this industry-recognized stamp of approval that will advance your career and industry knowledge.
The core areas of focus of the CHIA remain the same: hotel industry analytical foundations, hotel math fundamentals, property-level benchmarking, and hotel industry performance reports. But in response to the unprecedented state of global hospitality, the program’s data and guest speakers will be largely focused on performance recovery.
You can register below for the Online CHIA Workshop that works best with your schedule. Regardless of your preference, you will have direct engagement with your instructors and the opportunity to build camaraderie with attendees from around the globe. Pricing for the workshop and certification is $445 for AHLA members and $495 standard. Become a Rockstar within your organization, earn your CHIA. Register today!
* 9/9/20 Report from STR 2021 Forecasting Luncheon - Thank you to those members who were able to join us for OH&LA's STR 2021 Forecasting Luncheon. We'd like to thank our host hotel the Skirvin Hilton Hotel who did a great job of creating a safe and health environment — demonstrating that hotels are a responsible and safe place to hold meetings and events. We also appreciate the support of our luncheon sponsors Riverwind Hotel, Skirvin Hilton Hotel and PSAV. Use this link to download a free copy of the presentation. As OH&LA continues to provide member services, please watch for more forecasting sessions throughout the 2021. Also, congratulations to our lucky OKWIL raffle basket winners Travis Taylor, Terry Lanham and Kyle Lippe!
* 9/9/20 2021 OH&LA Board of Directors - Nominations for the OH&LA Board of Directors begins in October, so if you are an owner, general manager or regional vice president of an OH&LA member property and have interest in serving our leadership in 2021 , please send your letter of interest to Patti Colley before October 1st to be considered by the Nominating Committee.
* 9/2/20 New Version of Safe Stay Guidelines - AHLA is proud to announce a new enhanced version of COVID-19 Precautions for Hotels, a hotel-specific online training course designed specifically for cleaning and safety during the pandemic. This valuable training tool was developed in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) and now includes a brand new module focused on de-escalation training for employees. The new de-escalation module offers all hotel employees guidance on how to reduce tensions and promote a safe environment while maintaining the spirit of hospitality throughout all interactions.
* 8/31/20 New OH&LA Assessment Survey - In our continuing efforts to gather data on the devastating effects of the COVID-19 crisis on our hotel and lodging facilities in Oklahoma, please take a moment to complete this survey. This data is so important to have as we continue to work on additional relief for our industry.
* 8/28/20 Limited Service Breakfast Buffet - OH&LA was recently asked by a member about any rules or restrictions on guests self-service at breakfast buffets for their limited service property. We reached out to the Health Department and were told the following:
There is not a mandate for a server on a limited service buffet like you would find for breakfast at a limited service hotel. However, there are some suggestions for best practices that have been observed in the field for these types of buffets. It was suggested that a hotel provide a box of single use gloves at the buffet and hand sanitizer with signage asking your guests to please use the sanitizer and the gloves as they serve themselves at the buffet. It was also suggested that your staff change out serving utensils on a frequent basis.This would give an added level of safety and confidence to your guests.
* 8/28/20 U.S. Hotel Occupancy Falls to Three-Week Low - U.S. hotel occupancy fell to a three-week low of 48.8 percent for the week of August 16-22, according to the latest data from STR—down from the previous week when occupancy reached 50% for the first time since mid-March. Last week's room demand declined for the first time since mid-April. With no corporate travel to replace the leisure demand lost as the school year begins, STR projects similar challenges in the weeks ahead. Read more.
* 8/26/20 AHLA Survey Results: Traveler Preferences - AHLA has commissioned a new national survey. The purpose of the survey was to understand what frequent travelers want and expect with regards to hotel cleaning. The results of the survey send a clear message. Frequent travelers top three priorities include:
Frequent travelers say cleanliness is the most important factor when determining their next hotel stay, and 81% are more comfortable staying at hotels now with enhanced protocols and standards implemented. These priorities align with AHLA’s Safe Stay Guest Checklist and CDC recommendations and reinforce the importance of the Safe Stay initiative, workforce training, and the efforts of our industry.
* 8/26/20 Employee Payroll Tax Deduction Deferral Status - The White House is considering a longer payback or even forgiveness for an employee’s deferred payroll tax and the Treasury is working to issue Authorizing Guidance. The Trump administration is looking to ensure that the payroll tax deferral implemented by executive action is fully forgiven, meaning there would be no liability for the deferred taxes. As the Executive Order currently stands, workers and their employers will pay 2021 for the taxes that were deferred this year. Removing the liability would require congressional action.
* 8/24/20 FFCRA Reminder: Tax Credits - As schools begin to reopen, we would like to remind you and your staff that there are three new tax credits for paid sick leave:
If your employees qualify for paid sick and family leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), please remember that you can claim a tax credit to cover the costs. You don‘t have to wait for the IRS to send you the reimbursement. Instead, employers may reduce the amount of federal employment taxes they deposit with the IRS in a calendar quarter by the amount of the qualified leave wages paid in that quarter. For more information, please review the IRS‘s FAQs here.
* 8/21/20 Take Action: Standalone Expansion to the PPP Loan - If Congress is unable to agree upon a larger package, we need your help to urge House and Senate leadership to consider a standalone Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) expansion bill. The deadline has expired, barring any new businesses from taking advantage of this critical program. We need you to help us apply pressure on Members of Congress. It is imperative they consider an expansion to the PPP and extend the application deadline. Take Action!
* 8/21/20 State Approved for $300 Subsidy to Unemployment Benefits - Oklahoma recently applied to the federal government for permission to subsidize regular unemployment insurance payments with an additional $300 per week. It has now been reported the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the state's application. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) reports it will be at least a month before this additional benefit will be available for actual dispersal to unemployed Oklahomans but will be retroactive on August 1st. The OESC states the delay in implementing the extra benefit is due to the outdated computer system they are working with. OH&LA will share additional information with you as it becomes available.
* 8/19/20 AHLA Safe Stay Guidelines - AHLA Safe Stay Guidelines remain an important tool in supporting our industry. They are an industry-wide, enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees. There is an updated version of the guidelines that includes the following:
Information on face coverings requirement in all indoor public spaces
Updated overview on events and meetings protocols
Member resource information on collateral available on the Safe Stay website
* 8/19/20 STR Monthly Report: July 2020 - COVID-19 has altered the way industries are operating around the world. STR is no exception as data is being collected through a period challenged by widespread property closures and the repurposing of hotels in the fight against the pandemic. With that in mind, we want to bring to your attention the impact on the July results. Click here to see the STR Monthly Report for July 2020.
* 8/19/20 Tulsa Country CARES Act Website - Tulsa County CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) launched its website this week to provide transparency and connect business owners and residents to Tulsa County CARES programs through an interactive map on the site. On Monday, the Tulsa County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved an additional $4.5 million to small businesses and nonprofits through the Tulsa County RESET (Resources to Empower Small Enterprises for Tomorrow) program in order to help small business owners during this difficult time.
* 8/19/20 Vaccines, Flu Season, and Common Workplace Misunderstandings - As flu season approaches and the pandemic continues, employers‘ mandatory vaccination policies may soon become expected. As you proceed under the current unique circumstances, it is important to bear in mind the distinction between mandatory vaccinations and employee screenings such as temperature-taking, symptom checklists and testing, that are currently in widespread use. Learn more here.
* 8/19/20 FDA Approves Cheaper, Faster COVID-19 Test - There's a new saliva-based test developed by Yale School of Public Health that delivers faster results than ones currently available on the market. The SalivaDirect test can determine results in less than three hours and was funded by the NBA.
* 8/17/20 Tips for Cleaning POS Equipment - Some of our members have mentioned problems with their point-of-sale (POS) equipment having been damaged due to frequent cleaning. Regularly cleaning and disinfecting POS equipment is effective in reducing contamination, but the equipment comes with special manufacturers’ cleaning instructions that must be followed; certain cleaning agents can cause damage to plastics and rubber and should be avoided including:
Find out the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting and how to safely care for high-touch POS equipment.
* 8/10/20 Virtual Town Hall Meeting with 5th District Congresswoman Kendra Horn - Today we hosted a hospitality industry Zoom meeting with Congresswoman Kendra Horn. Congresswoman Horn updated us on the efforts in Washington D.C. and provided possible options for recovery and relief in our industry. Click here to view a recording from today's session.
* 8/10/20 ForWard Webinar Series: Meaningful Relationship Building and Networking During COVID-19 - Join us on August 25th at 4pm for ForWard's next webinar series: Meaningful Relationship Building and Networking During COVID-19. Here is what you will learn at this series:
* 8/7/20 Treasury Issues New FAQs on PPP Loan Forgiveness - Earlier this week the SBA, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, issued new guidance through Frequently Asked Questions aimed at helping PPP borrowers navigate maximum loan forgiveness. Here are key questions and answers boiled down from the 10 pages of Treasury FAQs that you should consider.
* 8/7/20 Mainstreet Lending Oversight Hearing - The Congressional Oversight Commission held its first hearing related to the Main Street Lending Program (MSLP). The hearing featured Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren, as well as a panel of banking, capital, and labor representatives. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) as well as Representatives French Hill (R-AR) and Donna Shalala (D-FL) all raised the fact that the MSLP, due to its terms, does not work for the hotel industry which is in desperate need of further assistance. Senator Toomey and Representative Hill encouraged President Rosengren and regulators to revisit these terms and establish an asset-based lending facility.
* 8/5/20 Virtual Town Hall Meeting with 5th District Congresswoman Kendra Horn - Please join us as we host a hospitality industry Zoom meeting with Congresswoman Kendra Horn next Monday on August 10th at 10:30 a.m. (CDT). Congresswoman Horn will update us on efforts in Washington D.C. to provide relief and recovery to our industry. If participants would like to submit questions in advance, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to register for the Town Hall Meeting.
* 8/3/20 Safe to Work Act - OH&LA joined with AHLA and other trade associations and Chambers to strongly urge Congress as a part of Phase IV COVID-19 relief to support the timely, targeted, and temporary liability relief 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. This legislation is critically needed and should be enacted as soon as possible.
* 8/3/20 Take Action: Protect Our Industry - The majority of hospitality establishments might not be eligible for a new round of PPP funding. As Congress tries to move towards an agreement on a final COVID-19 relief package, plans have emerged for a new round of PPP funding that would require businesses to demonstrate a 50% loss of revenue, but 55% of establishments that are losing money would not be eligible for this new funding. Take action now to help protect us from surprise tax liabilities!
* 8/3/20 The Forum: Pelosi & Pacious - Join AHLA for an exclusive interview with Speaker Pelosi and Pat Pacious, CEO of Choice hotels. Well hear the ultimate insider's view on the very latest relief bill negotiations and how the President & CEO of one of our industry's most successful brands is navigating this crisis. The webinar will begin this Wednesday, August 5th at 12pm. Register here!
* 7/31/20 OH&LA Quarterly Member Event: 2020 STR Forecasting Luncheon on Sept 8th - We look forward to welcoming back STR who will provide a 2020 review and 2021 Forecasting Luncheon, which will provide interesting data considering the effect COVID-19 has had on the lodging industry. Our guest and presenter is Vail Ross, CMHS, Senior Vice President of Global Business Development & Marketing.
Please join other lodging professionals for this event which has been modified from the past to include plenty of social distancing and health and safety protocols to keep attendees safe while we gather to learn about very important data for projecting 2021 business while we also enjoy networking with others from the industry. Only the STR Forecasting Luncheon followed by the OHLA Board of Directors Meeting will be held. No committee meetings will be held. Click here to learn more and register!
* 7/31/20 AHLA Applauds Introduction of Bipartisan HOPE Act - AHLA expressed expressed support for the Helping Open Properties Endeavor (HOPE) Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by to 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. More info here.
* 7/31/20 Gratitude from AHLA - Your incredible support for AHLAs Save Hotel Jobs National Day of Action made a significant difference! Thanks to you, we shattered all previous AHLA grassroots records! Here are the two things you need to know today:
You are making a difference! We made our voice heard loud and clear where it counts most right now - on Capitol Hill. As Congress continues to debate what could be the final Covid-19 relief bill of 2020, your outreach during our National Day of Action could not have happened at a more important time. Thanks to you, we achieved these incredible results:
* 7/31/20 HEALS Act Introduced, (Cont.) - As of today, there is not an agreement between all those negotiating the details of the next relief package. Next week will be crucial to get an agreement that can pass both Houses of Congress and gain the President's signature prior to the August recess of Congress. Next week, we will share a call to action so you can contact our Congressional delegation and ask them to save Oklahoma Restaurants and the jobs they provide. ORA will keep you informed as there are further developments.
* 7/29/20 HEALS Act Introduced - Early this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the HEALS Act (Health Economic Assistance Liability Protection and Schools). This is the Republican version of a relief bill for the economy and will be the starting point for negotiations with the Democrats and the White House.
* 7/27/20 National Day of Action This Wednesday: Save Hotel Jobs - National Day of Action: Save Hotel Jobs starts this Wednesday, July 29th. This effort is designed to provide a platform to support legislative action. While Congress is actively debating the next recovery package, now is the time to amplify our engagement. On July 29th we want 100,000 of your letters to flood the offices of Members of Congress. Please add the date to your calendar Urge Congress to support hotel jobs in the next relief package. Take action now and help save our industry!
* 7/27/20 PPP forgiveness - Borrowers and their advisers might be eager to move ahead with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness process, but the Small Business Administration and Treasury have yet to issue expected FAQs. Certain questions remain related to topics such as self-employment and what counts as a utility under PPP rules. We would advise you to not rush this process, and consider these tips before proceeding.
* 7/24/20 Our Pledge to Safety & Well Being: Updated - As science and CDC recommendations change in response to best practices for combating COVID-19 we have updated the Pledge to Safety. The current changes address new protocols for an employee returning to work and also contact tracing. See the updated Pledge here.
* 7/23/20 Oklahoma Contact Tracing Now Includes Text Messages - The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announces today that its contact tracing outreach efforts will include text messaging. This functionality will help streamline the process for contact tracers as they reach out to individuals who have been in close contact with infected individuals. Oklahoma currently has 300 contact tracers and case investigators, with 160 additional staff in training. Each positive person will be notified of cases automatically as soon as their information is entered into the contact tracing system.
* 7/22/20 Mask FAQ: Refusing Service to Someone Who Won't Wear a Mask But Claims to Have a Medical Reason - A restaurant should try not to refuse service to someone with a legitimate disability, but it can be hard to know who has a disability and who does not. The challenge is that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you cannot ask what the disability is or for documentation. Learn more here.
Fake face mask exemption ID cards are also currently going viral around the country. The DOJ declared last week that it has not issued ID cards and does not endorse any such identification. Be on the lookout for these ID cards.
* 7/22/20 Take Action: No New Tariffs on Food & Alcohol - The Administration is conducting a review of actions in regards to tariffs of up to 100% on food and alcohol products from the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK). The list includes seafood, dairy products, ham, fruit products, pasta, coffee, olive oil, chocolate, potatoes, baked products, wines, whiskey, beer, gin, brandy, vodka and other food products. If enacted, the tariffs would significantly impact restaurants, profoundly affecting our supply chains and operations. The deadline for comments from our industry is this Sunday, July 26.
* 7/22/20 Webinar Recording: Our Hotel's Pledge to Safety and Well Being - OH&LA hosted a zoom call yesterday regarding "Our Hotel's Pledge to Safety and Well Being" and guidelines and best practices in regards to an employee that has been exposed or diagnosed with COVID-19. You can view a recording of the webinar here, and download the Pledge here.
The call also provided a quick review for stipulations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights. You can access the full Act here.
* 7/21/20 Economic Priorities for the Hotel Industry - As lawmakers consider additional legislation to address the ongoing health crisis and economic fallout, AHLA sent a letter to Congress calling for additional help in these following areas, including extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for severely impacted businesses and their employees, creating targeted lending facilities and liquidity measures to help hoteliers meet debt service, and passing tax reforms to benefit both hotel employees and employers. A copy of the letter can be found here. Together, these provisions will help ensure hotels can retain and rehire employees, protect employees and guests, keep hotel doors open, and incentivize Americans to travel again when its safe.
* 7/21/20 Two Question Poll about In-Person OHLA STR Luncheon - OH&LA in partnership with STR annually hosts an STR Forecasting Session during a luncheon at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. This year, the event is scheduled for September 8th in Oklahoma City. The current state and local guidance do not prohibit a group this size from gathering. OH&LA would like to poll our members about holding this as an in-person event. Please help us by responding to this poll asap.
* 7/20/20 Common Questions and Answers Regarding OKC's New Mandates - Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding OKC's new mandated masks requirements.
* 7/20/20 Guests and Masks - What the Top Hotel CEOs are Saying - The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) today released the "Safe Stay Guest Checklist" for guests on how to travel safely while also creating a standardized safety experience nationwide. This checklist is part of AHLAs Safe Stay guidelines, an industry-wide, enhanced set of health and safety protocols designed to provide a safe and clean environment for all hotel guests and employees. Click here to read what the top hotel company CEOs are saying about masks in hotels. Click here to read the Safe Stay Guest Checklist which includes a requirement for guests to wear masks.
* 7/20/20 COVID-19 Alert System - A new COVID-19 alert system was developed to demonstrate the risk categories for each county in Oklahoma. This 4-color, county-by-county alert system was built using the White Houses methodology model for new cases per 100,000 population. In order for a county to be elevated to the "red risk" category, one of four additional gates must be met that would indicate emerging challenges in the delivery of healthcare services.
* 7/20/20 City Emergency Proclamations: COVID-19 Guidance - Multiple cities have released updated Emergency Proclamations. The ORA has continued to remain instrumental in providing input to state officials in order to help keep our businesses open and safe. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.
* 7/20/20 Our Hotel's Pledge to Safety and Well Being - OH&LA has developed "Our Hotel's Pledge to Safety and Well Being" as the best practice to communicate a hotel's safety measures as they navigate the challenges faced when a hotel employee has been exposed to or tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Click here for a copy of the digital poster.
* 7/20/20 Free 'Masks Required' Sign for You to Utilize - As an OH&LA member resource, and in light of masks mandated around the state of Oklahoma, we would like to provide a free downloadable "Masks Required" sign for you to print and post at your businesses entrance.
* 7/17/20 Oklahoma City Council Votes In Favor of Mandated Masks - Mayor David Holt of OKC signed a face mask ordinance into effect, after the Oklahoma City Council voted 6-3 on Friday, July 17th in favor of the order. It was then voted 7-3 to become effective immediately. Citizens are required to wear a face covering or face shield over both their nose and mouth when inside a commercial business or other structure, building or space open to the public. Masks will also be required in an outdoor space when unable to social distance staying 6 feet apart unless they are from the same household. Exemptions apply to those 10 years and younger, those individuals with developmental disabilities, the deaf or those who are hard of hearing. Non-compliance penalties will be enforced.
The full ordinance for Oklahoma City will be released soon. OH&LA will continue to keep you informed as information is available. If you have questions regarding the ordinance, feel free to contact us.
* 7/16/20 Oklahoma City Council to Vote in Mask Mandate Tomorrow
This afternoon, at least one media outlet posted a story stating the Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) is recommending the city close restaurants and bars. ORA believes this story to be misleading.
The facts are that closing restaurants and bars is one of five recommendations by the OCCHD to the Oklahoma City Council and closures were the last recommendation made by the OCCHD not the first.
Mayor Holt has assured the OH&LA that the only item to be considered for a vote by the Oklahoma City Council tomorrow will be mandatory masks. The only question will be if it receives the seven votes needed to go into effect immediately. The OH&LA will continue to keep you informed as information is available.
* 7/16/20 OH&LA Virtual Event: July 21, 3:30 pm "Our Hotel's Pledge to Safety and Well Being"- As things rapidly change, the OH&LA prepares to release "Our Hotel's Pledge to Safety and Well Being". This pledge gives guidance to operators and outlines a hotel's pledge to take the proper steps when an employee is ill or has been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19.
The OH&LA will be hosting a zoom call on July 21 at 3:00 pm to discuss the Pledge, answer questions, and discuss best practices as we navigate the challenges we are facing. Register in advance.
* 7/15/20 Add Your Voice to the Fight! - OH&LA has been working alongside the NRA to develop a roadmap for the recovery across the state and country. This Blueprint for Revival was put together with input from our industry. A $120 billion recovery fund and a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding has been considered to be the top goal to pursue in our advocacy agenda. We've stated what we need. Congress will discuss their final COVID-19 relief for 2020 and it's imperative that we make a strong final push to get this done.
* 7/15/20 Moderna's Vaccine Ready to Advance to Final Phase of Testing - The first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the U.S. increased test subjects' immune systems. The shots are ready to begin key final testing. The final phase involves a 30,000-person study to prove if the shots really are strong enough to protect against the virus. Learn more.
* 7/14/20 Paycheck Protection Program Extended to Aug 8th - The SBA's Paycheck Protection Program began accepting new applications on July 6th and will continue to accept applications through August 8th. If you have not previously received a PPP loan, you are encouraged to speak to your lender and determine if a loan is appropriate for your business. The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses. To apply, click here.
* 7/14/20 AHLA Webinar: Navigating Challenges of the Pandemic - Tomorrow at 2pm, AHLA will be hosting a webinar regarding insiders' takes on the current situation facing our industry and much more. Jon Bortz and Greg Juceam will host a wide-ranging discussion on navigating the challenges of the pandemic and preparing operations for reopening. Register here.
* 7/14/20 AHLA Webinar: Helping Employees Cope with Racism - On Monday July 20th at 1pm, AHLA will host a webinar in regards to minority employees in the hospitality industry being disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. additional forms of trauma, combined with the stress of the pandemic, lead to even more negative mental health outcomes. Register here.
* 7/14/20 Back of the House Design Strategies for COVID-19 - Mitigating the potential spread of the coronavirus means adding layers of protection to reduce risks of contamination. Since person-to-person transmission is the primary source of infection, strategies focus on reconfiguring your restaurant to maximize social distancing and sanitation. In addition to the food safety practices you already use, perhaps the best way to help ensure your back of the house setup minimizes contact points is to reconfigure the flow of food through your restaurant in the same way you've done for people. The National Restaurant Association has provided specific guidance on how to do this.
* 7/14/20 Local Businesses: COVID-19 Products & Services - In order to serve our members in recovery and restart efforts, the Oklahoma Restaurant Association has developed a live google document that has been continuously updated by businesses who offer products and services specific to COVID-19 recovery efforts, as well as a list of providers for menu and promotional solutions. This document has been available since April, but has been updated very regularly, so check it out! Relative businesses may at any time add themselves to this list.
* 7/13/20 New $5 Per Employee Safe Stay Training Course Available - To further expand the hotel industry's Safe Stay initiative, AHLA announced COVID-19 Precautions for Hotels, an online course developed in partnership with AHLEI and created to help hotels train their staff on the Safe Stay Enhanced Safety and Cleanliness Guidelines. This new employee training course represents a united industry approach around the Safe Stay guidelines endorsed by all major U.S. hotel brands to ensuring the health and safety of guests and employees while continuing to provide outstanding service.
OH&LA encourages all hotels to enroll as a Safe Stay property, which means at a minimum your hotel pledges to train and implement the health and safety practices in the enhanced guidelines.
Additionally, members now have the opportunity to support their employees and guests by providing special health and safety training for $5 per employee. Any hotel employee is eligible for the training. Click here to view:
Steps to Become a Safe Stay Hotel
Safe Stay is endorsed by all major U.S. hotel brands, associations in all 50 states, and Canada and is quickly becoming the industry's go-to guidelines. What steps can your hotel take to become an AH&LA Safe Stay Hotel?
* 7/10/20 STR Hotel Occupancy Updates - For the first time in 12 weeks, hotel occupancy dipped over the July 4 weekend. Occupancy was 45.6% for the week ended July 4, down from 46.2% the prior week, according to STR. Occupancy had risen in week-to-week comparisons for 11 straight weeks since April.
* 7/9/20 Phase 2: Oklahoma Business Relief Program Grants - Phase 2 begins at 8 a.m. on July 14. Many participating financial institutions are continuing to work with businesses interested in applying to gather the required information in advance. OBRP offers funding for businesses that have suffered revenue loss due to the pandemic. Businesses submit their applications through participating financial institutions, which are listed on the Commerce website. Phase 2 will open up another $50 million, and it is anticipated that the funds will go even faster, as business owners and financial institutions have additional time to prepare. Learn more.
* 7/9/20 McConnell Calls for 5-year Lawsuit Shield for Businesses - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outlined new details this week of what he wants to see in the next and potentially final coronavirus relief package, including a five-year liability shield for businesses and a possible new round of stimulus checks aimed at workers making $40,000 a year and less.
* 7/8/20 One Question - OH&LA Update Poll - Since Mid-March when hotels were closed due to the pandemic, and continuing through the recovery process, OH&LA has been producing this daily update to provide you with the latest news that impacts your business. Our updates have announced informative webinars and roundtable discussions, and health and safety protocols, as well as reporting the association's progress in the fight to make vital improvements to legislation, such as PPP loans and expansion opportunities for liquor sales.
OH&LA is constantly evaluating the work we do for the hospitality industry and wed like to hear from you about how frequently you would like to receive these updates. We invite you to answer this one-question survey so we know how frequently you wish to receive our updates.
* 7/6/20 PPP Loan Data Now Available- The SBA and U.S. Treasury Departments released the latest PPP loan data today. You can find that information here. The National Restaurant Association released this statement today about the need for Congress and the policy-makers to use the data to craft additional help:
"Today's release of Paycheck Protection Program loan data provides important insight into the program's success. We urge federal policymakers to dive into it to determine how best to devise support for small businesses like restaurants that are clearly on the ropes. Countless hotels and restaurants across the country used a PPP loan to keep their employees on the payroll, but they are emerging from the program with challenges that have only grown in scope. For many, this uncertainty will linger until a vaccine is available. The PPP has been a bridge for many during the shutdown, but the restaurant industry is still looking at months of starts and stops to find a new normal in business operations. We encourage Congress and the Administration to consider bipartisan options to support the industrys recovery."
* 7/6/20 Meet Our New OH&LA Secretary: David Davis- David Davis, who is the Vice President of Operations for New Century Hotels has long been an advocate for the lodging industry. Currently, he has earned his PhD and certifications including CHA, CHE and CHIA. For many years, David has advanced hospitality education as an Interim Director, and most recently as an Adjunct Professor at the OSU School of Hospitality & Tourism Management program in Stillwater. He also regularly volunteers his time as an industry evaluator for OH&LA's HospitAbilities program. Prior to joining higher education, David spent nine years as a general manager with John Q. Hammons Hotels.
* 7/6/20 New City Emergency Proclamations: COVID-19 Guidance -
Multiple cities have released updated Emergency Proclamations. The ORA has continued to remain instrumental in providing input to state officials in order to help keep our businesses open and safe. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.
Below are several emergency proclamations and executive orders based on city health departments and city mayors. We will include more as they are released:
*Note: This is the most up-to-date information available at the time this email was sent. Some information may have changed since then, so we encourage you to check other sources as well.
* 7/6/20 4-Step Plan For Bringing Your Hospitality Workforce Back To Work - As hotels, resorts, casinos and restaurants reopen, there are challenges around every corner. Every location must reimagine processes and develop new protocols, procedures and policies. Courtesy of our partner Fisher Philips, here is a four-step process for safely bringing your employees back to work and enacting protocols that fit your hotel's routine.
* 7/1/20 Mayor David Holt Announces Restrictions on OKC Restaurants and Bars - Mayor David Holt released new mandates for restaurants, bars and theatre-style venues in an attempt to limit peoples exposure to COVID-19. Beginning this Friday, July 3rd, for the next 14 days, all employees of restaurants and bars must wear masks. The capacity at bars will be lowered to 50% to prevent further spread. Mayor Holt also stated that all venues with theater-style seating, such as weddings, funerals and churches must have staggered seating with two seats in between each seat. Find out more about the mandates here.
* 7/1/20 Employer Responsibilities Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) - As restaurants reopen and are experiencing employees affected by Covid-19 now is a good time to revisit employer responsibilities for helping those employees. You can read this article on FAQ's about the FFCRA here.
* 6/30/20 Oklahoma COVID-19 Testing Sites - Several of our members have requested a list of COVID-19 testing sites available in the state. We put together a list of both rapid testing sites which only take 15 minutes to receive results, as well as free testing sites that typically take around 48-72 hours to learn your results. They are listed below:
* 6/29/20 Outdoor Dining Programs: Tulsa & OKC - The Tulsa City Council recently approved the parklet program and it was officially signed into law and instituted. Information about the program and sidewalk cafes can be found here. On the website you'll find information, manuals, and applications for the sidewalk café and parklets programs and a flow chart to help determine which program(s) is right for your business. It is important to note that fees have been waived for both programs. Sidewalk cafes are allowed through June 30, 2021 and Parklets are allowed through March 31, 2021 to align with each program renewal date.
The City of Oklahoma City also created a streamlined process for bars and restaurants to obtain the necessary permit for a streatery (or parklet program). The City will review applications for a revocable permit issued by the Public Works Director. Creating well-defined criteria for use in an existing administrative process makes it easier for businesses to quickly adapt to increasing demand for outdoor, socially distant seating space. Find the full guidelines and requirements here, and a link to the revocable permit application here.
* 6/25/20 Corrected Reminder: Employees Who Test Positive - We would like to correct yesterday's announcement regarding your responsibility for reporting when an employee tests positive for COVID-19. We apologize for any confusion. Please remember that once an employee's COVID-19 test results are confirmed, a health department liaison will follow up with the employer to advise them of the positive test result and next steps the employer needs to take next. No business may allow an employee to continue to work who has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms. Failure to do so could put your restaurant at risk of closure as well as put the larger restaurant industry at risk of government mandates that are not currently in existence.
* 6/24/20 Video from OH&LA STR 18 mo. Forecast Review - Earlier today, OH&LA members and industry associates took part in a session presented by CHIA certified facilitator David Davis. The session provided an overview of OKC and Tulsa STR forecasting data for the next 18 mos. considering the impact of COVID-19. The session included an overview of the historic impact, recession cycles, the most immediate impact, and a look at the next 18 months. The synthesis of the data is based on the strict impact of the early days of the pandemic and before this recent surge. A big thank you to David Davis of New Century Hotels for presenting this session. Click here to access the video.
Additionally, as sources of funding are currently limited, and Oklahoma banking institutions may not completely understand the impact on the lodging industry, please feel free to share this presentation with your banking institution if you believe it supports your needs and helps in discussions with them.
* 6/24/20 Survey: Travel Industry Recovery- A new survey conducted by Morning Consult commissioned by AHLA found that while Americans remain hesitant about traveling, they overwhelmingly support efforts by Congress to help the travel industry recover including helping hotels keep their doors open and bring back employees, as well as incentivizing Americans to travel again. Only 18% have traveled since March; Majority don't have travel plans in 2020. By a 3-1 margin, Americans support a temporary Travel Tax Credit to encourage domestic travel. Click here to view the full survey.
* 6/24/20 Let's Do Our Part - In response to the updated public health advisory from the Oklahoma Department of Health, we have provided updated guidance for industry members. As case numbers continue to rise, it is essential that we do all that we can to keep our employees and guests safe.
Additionally, we want to strongly caution everyone to abide by statewide orders and local regulations. While many are following the rules, we know that some are not. At a press conference yesterday, David Holt encouraged that masks be worn when out in public.
We are committed to keeping you informed and helping you navigate this difficult time. If you have any questions, need clarification or seek additional resources, please do not hesitate to reach out.
* 6/24/20 Reminder: Report Employees Who Test Positive- Please remember a restaurant has the responsibility to report to their Local Health Department when they have an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19. COVID-19 is a communicable disease and must be reported according to Health Department guidelines. No business is allowed to let an employee continue to work who has tested positive, or has COVID-19 symptoms. Failure to do so could put your hotel at risk of closure as well as put the larger lodging and restaurant industry at risk of government mandates that are not in existence right now.
* 6/24/20 Streatery Applications- The City of Oklahoma City has created a streamlined process for bars and restaurants to obtain the necessary permit for a streatery, as demand increases for temporary outdoor seating. A streatery (street + eatery) uses on-street parking spaces adjacent to a business to allow for outdoor seating where sidewalk or patio space is not available or not practical. The City will review applications for a revocable permit issued by the Public Works Director. Creating well-defined criteria for use in an existing administrative process makes it easier for businesses to quickly adapt to increasing demand for outdoor, socially distant seating space. Find the full guidelines and requirements here, and a link to the revocable permit application here.
* 6/24/20 State of Oklahoma to provide Oklahoma Business Relief Program- The Oklahoma Department of Commerce is allocating $50 million from the Federal CARES Act to provide Oklahoma businesses much needed financial assistance. The application period begins on Monday, June 29 and goes through July 10. This is a first-come, first served basis and funds will be provided to the business through financial institutions who choose to participate; At least 20% of the program funds will be designated for minority-owned businesses. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce has released additional details on this program. The details can be found here.
* 6/23/20 COVID-19 CMBS Relief - Recently, OH&LA joined efforts with AH&LA and other industry allies to encourage members of Congress to cosign the letter to Sec. Mnuchin and Fed Chairman Powell on CMBS relief. The final letter, cosigned by over 100 members of Congress, was sent yesterday and can be viewed here and attached. The Wall Street Journal also covered the letter (below). Congressman Van Taylor, one of the lead organizers of the letter, is developing legislation as a follow up to this letter. We will be sure to keep you posted on those efforts.
Congressmen Taylor and Barr joined recent AHLA committee calls to discuss CMBS relief efforts. Recordings of those calls are below:
* 6/23/20 President Proclamation - President Donald Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, "Suspending Entry of Aliens who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak." This executive action extends foreign worker restrictions put in place on April 22 through the end of the year. The order impacts H-1B, H-2B, J, and L visas, equating to more than 500,000 legal guest workers (according to the White House). Certain exemptions have been allowed under the order, including for H-2B workers employed in our nation's food supply.
Unfortunately, this executive order will have a profound impact on many OH&LA members who rely on seasonal, legal guest workers to augment their domestic workforce during peak season. Now is the worst possible time to prevent hotels from operating at full capacity.
AHLA, which co-chairs the H-2B Workforce Coalition, continues to work closely with our allies on Capitol Hill and in the Administration to determine what can be done to allow seasonal workers at a time they are needed most. With no change, this Executive action could significantly delay the economic recovery in the hotel and hospitality sector.
* 6/23/20 Updated Loan Forgiveness Rules - Last night, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Department of Treasury released updated Loan Forgiveness rules. The improvements of the PPP Flexibility Act, new details on loan forgiveness timing, and required documentation for "business activity" exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction are included below.
New Improvements Confirmed for PPP Recipients
Clarity on Timing for Loan Forgiveness Process
Forgiveness Reductions Regarding FTE Rehiring
SBA Example: A PPP borrower is in the business of selling beauty products both online and at its physical store. During the covered period, the local government where the borrowers' store is located orders all non-essential businesses, including the borrowers' business, to shut down their stores, based in part on COVID-19 guidance issued by the CDC in March 2020. *Because the borrower's business activity during the covered period was reduced compared to its activity before February 15, 2020, due to compliance with COVID Requirements or Guidance, the borrower satisfies the Flexibility Acts exemption and will not have its forgiveness amount reduced because of a reduction in FTEs during the covered period, if the borrower maintains records regarding the reduction in business activity and the local governments' shutdown orders that reference a COVID-19 Requirement or Guidance as described above.
As of June 19, SBA and Treasury plan to publicly share PPP recipient business names, addresses, NAICS codes, zip codes, business type, demographic data, non-profit information, jobs supported and PPP loan amount ranges as follows:
* 6/23/20 Your Employee Tests Positive... What Should You Do? Even if a business follows all of the state and federal COVID-19 protocols, it is very likely that someone who comes into that business will later be diagnosed with COVID-19. Restaurants and hotels are no exception, which is why the industry continues to follow strict sanitation, social distancing and health screening protocols. Oklahoma has not issued requirements or recommendations to businesses who learn that an employee came into the business before being diagnosed with COVID-19. However, employees with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 cannot work until the quarantine period has passed. However, the CDC has issued guidance on this question, and so the Oklahoma Hotel and Lodging Association recommends following these CDC guidelines at least until the state issues additional guidance.
Suggestions for When an Employee Tests Positive:
* 6/23/20 Oklahoma Business Relief Program - Starting June 26, Oklahoma businesses can apply for $25,000 grants from the Oklahoma Business Relief Program. Approved applications will be submitted to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, and funds will be provided to the business through the financial institution. During the first phase of applications, at least 20% of the program funds will be designated for minority-owned businesses. Learn more here.
* 6/22/20 Governor Announces Grant Program to Help Small Businesses - Over the weekend Governor Stitt announced a grant program to help small businesses in Oklahoma with losses they have suffered from Covid-19. Applications for the grants will be on first come first served basis and will open on Friday, June 26. Some of the highlights of the program include:
Maximum of $25,000 per grant
Grant amount equal to two months of average total payroll. The business may choose from:
Average of 2019 total payroll; or, average of January-February 2020 total payroll
* 6/22/20 Oklahoma Takes Part in Roundtable with President Trump -
Governor Stitt joined with the nation's other Governors and visited President Trump at the White House on Thursday to participate in a roundtable regarding the reopening of America's small businesses. The discussion was centered specifically centered around the hospitality industry. Pete Patel, owner of Promise Hotels in Tulsa, accompanied Governor Stitt at the meeting and gave remarks about the current state of the lodging industry and the relief still needed. The roundtable concluded with the President planning to get deductions back for our industry. You can read the transcript from the roundtable here.
* 6/22/20 STR Monthly Report: May 2020- COVID-19 has altered the way industries are operating around the world. STR is no exception as data is being collected through a period challenged by widespread property closures and the repurposing of hotels in the fight against the pandemic. With that in mind, we want to bring to your attention the impact on the April results. Click here to see the STR Monthly Report for May 2020.
* 6/17/20 PPP Loan Forgiveness - 45 Senators, including Senators Lankford and Inhofe, sent a letter to the Treasury and SBA requesting that they create a one page PPP forgiveness certification for loans less than $250,000. This would make the forgiveness process for smaller PPP loans simpler. You can read the letter here.
The ORA, in partnership with other state restaurant associations and the American Hotel & Lodging Association will be sending a similar letter. We will share more details on these efforts as they become available.
* 6/17/20 May 2020 Coronavirus National Survey Results - Click here to view an infographic created by the National Restaurant Association about the latest survey results.
* 6/15/20 Save the Date: ORA Expo on August 19-20 - Join us for the ORA Expo! With the reopening of Oklahoma, restaurants are back in business and operators are searching for the latest and greatest to help build their success. The ORA Expo will take place on August 19 and 20 the OK State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, and is considered the best opportunity of the year for you to connect with other professionals, as well as exhibitors who are eager to show off their best in hospitality products and services.
The ORA Expo is Oklahoma's largest industry trade show and the most important of the year for foodservice and hospitality industry professionals, as it will also offer exciting educational sessions and demonstrations! Easy access, convenient parking, a socially distanced exhibit floor, and tons of ORA hospitality make this an event you don't want to miss! Save the date, or go ahead and register today!
* 6/9/20 Thanks for Support of Oklahoma's Hospitality Industry - On behalf of Oklahoma's hospitality industry, we would like to recognize and thank Governor Kevin Stitt, Legislators, Regulatory agencies and others for their continuing leadership and guidance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The engagement by those below has helped to move the hospitality industry forward:
* 6/5/20 President Signs PPP Fix Legislation - Earlier today, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act into law. Thank you again for all of your efforts over the past several weeks to advocate for these important changes.
While the legislation extends aspects like the 24-week period, June 30th is the final day for those who have not previously received a PPP loan to be issued one. If you already received the loan, you cannot be issued a second one.
We wanted to let you know about this June 30th deadline for receiving an initial PPP loan. If you want to apply you should speak with your lender right away.
* 6/5/20 ABLE Approves Alcohol to Go Rules - At the ABLE commission meeting today commissioners approved the emergency rules to implement the new law contained in SB 1928 which made alcohol to go permanent in the statutes. The emergency rules will go into effect as soon as approved and signed by Governor Stitt. You can view the newly adopted rules here.
Highlights of the rules are:
As a reminder: All sales of alcohol to go are not subject to the 13.5% gross receipts tax, only the applicable sales tax, since the alcohol is not being consumed on-premises. As always, please contact Jim Hopper or Collin Graham if you have questions or need additional information.
* 6/2/20 Urge Our Senators to Vote YES on the PPP Flexibility Act - The PPP Flexibility Act (H.R. 7010) is critical to enhancing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to meet the needs of our industry. The Senate is currently considering the House passed legislation and we need your help to ensure passage in the Senate! Contact your Senators and urge them to swiftly pass the PPP Flexibility Act and maintain the key provisions in the bill. This includes:
* 5/27/20 The Hotel Scoop: Oklahoma Regulations and Best Practices - As our state enters Phase 3 of the Oklahoma Bounce Back Plan, join OH&LA on June 3 at 10:00 am for a frequently asked questions session facilitated by OH&LA's Collin Graham, Director of Membership and Patti Colley, Chief Strategy Officer. We know the industry is on information-overload and in this session, we will share insights to help you manage all of the city, state and brand protocols. OH&LA will also share regulations and guidelines from the Department of Health and ABLE Commission, as well as best practices for banquets, pools, guest service, enhanced sanitation and more. You will also learn how your hotel can become a "Safe Stay" lodging property. Click here to register.
* 5/26/20 State Health Department Extends Deadline for Renewal of Licenses - The State Health Department passed an emergency rule extending the deadlines for state license renewals and has waived the penalties for non-renewal. The emergency rule will remain in effect during the duration of the declared emergency from the Governor, and for 14 days after the end of the state-wide emergency. You can read the summary of the State Health Department emergency rule here.
* 5/20/20 Register for the OH&LA Hotel Roundtable - Join your colleagues from around the state for an OH&LA Hotel Roundtable discussion on Thursday, May 28 at 10:00 am. This will be an opportunity to discuss issues facing lodging operators as you welcome an increased number of guests into your properties under these unprecedented circumstances. The OH&LA Hotel Roundtable will be moderated by CEO Jim Hopper and fellow hotelier and OH&LA Chair James Cunningham of Hyatt Regency Tulsa.
You'll hear the latest on PPP loan forgiveness, regulations on reopening, as well as other issues of general interest. Another key objective of this session is the time for sharing the challenges you are facing and getting feedback from peers.
If there are issues you would like addressed, please send them in advance to Patti Colley before May 28. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions through Zoom's chat feature during the call and we'll open the call for general conversation as well. Click here to register!
* 5/13/20 Virtual Town Hall Meeting with 5th District Congresswoman Kendra Horn - Please join us as we host a zoom meeting with Congressman Kendra Horn this Friday on May 15th at 9:30 a.m. (CDT). Congressman Horn will update us on efforts in Washington D.C. to provide relief and recovery to our industry. Click here to join the Town Hall Meeting on Friday.
* 5/11/20 OH&LA Endorses "Safe Stay" Industry-Wide Enhanced Cleaning Standards - The Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association is proud to announce its endorsement of Safe Stay - the American Hotel & Lodging Association's (AHLA) new industry-wide, enhanced standard of health and safety protocols. Safe Stay is designed to prepare Americas hotels to safely welcome back guests and employees as the economy reopens.
* 5/8/20 AH&LA Front Desk Feedback - AH&LA released its AH&LA Front Desk Feedback, a new report showcasing survey results from more than 900 hoteliers across the country, featured a variety of topics including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and debt issues. Click here to view the results.
* 4/29/20 Oklahoma Hotel Pool Reopening Guidance - The Oklahoma State Department of Health has released a guidance to assist hotels and other public bathing establishments with operations of indoor and outdoor pool, hot tubs and spas. *Reopening is based upon current guidance as of 04/23/2020 and may be subject to change in accordance with Governors executive orders. Please check with your local municipality for rules related to reopening as they may have additional requirements.
* 4/27/20 AH&LA Sends Thanks to Congress - More than 13,000 hoteliers from every state and territory in the country added their name to AH&LA's letter thanking Congress for the significant progress made with the CARES Act while urging more funding, technical corrections, and enhancements. AH&LA has now sent the letter to every Member of Congress and the national media.
* 4/27/20 Stay Safe: New Hotel Cleaning Standards - Earlier today, AH&LA launched "Stay Safe", an initiative focused on enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions and workplace protocols to meet the new health and safety challenges presented by COVID-19. The Safe Stay Advisory Council, comprised of leading hotel companies, has developed enhanced cleaning and safety standards. For more information, click here.
* 4/21/20 Zoom Meeting with Congressman Kevin Hern: Friday April 24 - Please join us as we host a zoom meeting with OK First District Congressman Kevin Hern on Friday, April 24th at 9:00 a.m. (CDT). As many of you know, Congressman Hern is also a restaurateur and a long-time franchisee of McDonald's. Congressman Hern will bring a restaurant perspective and provide information on further steps Congress is taking to help us. Click here to join the meeting.
Meeting ID: 980 0927 5079
* 4/20/20 Important Sanitation Practices - The hotel industry continues to face challenges regarding COVID-19. Hotels must do all they can to contribute to the containment and eventual minimization of this virus. Click here to see specific steps that hotel managers (whose properties are still open) should consistently and immediately implement to control and minimize guest and employee exposure.
* 4/17/20 Sign the CMBS Letter to Regulators - AH&LA, AAHOA, state lodging associations and hoteliers from across the country are requesting that the Treasury and the Federal Reserve act to create a commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market relief fund with a specific focus on the hotel industry and its dire need for relief in this sector. Hoteliers across the country are unable to meet their CMBS obligations due to the ongoing health crisis and need action. AHLA has put together a letter outlining the need for the Treasury and Federal Reserve to ensure hotel industry CMBS concerns are addressed immediately. Sign here.
* 4/15/20 Act! Urgent Input on Considerations for Future Opening of Hotels - When hotels are allowed to resume business, there will likely be many moving parts and a lot of considerations to take into account so that our employees and business owners will be protected. We want your guests to have confidence in knowing that our hotels are a very safe place to once again stay, hold conferences and dine.
Although the timing of reopening our industry has not yet been determined, we are working with AH&LA and other state lodging associations to pull together a one-pager of what Oklahoma hotels will need to reopen when the Governor gives the approval to do so. We will share this information with the Governor as soon as possible. Among other things, we will ask the Governor to ensure that any rules on reopening be applied state-wide in every lodging operation, as this would be important for the confidence of our employees and customers.
If you have thoughts or recommendations you would like us to share with the Governor, we would love to hear from you, so act quickly. Please email Patti Colley at email@example.com. We'll keep you posted on this issue as it develops.
* 4/14/20 Lodging Media: Audio Library - Click the links below to hear informative content and strategies for the hotel industry, courtesy of the Lodging Media.
* 4/10/20 Webinar: After the COVID-19 Pandemic: Planning Now for The Return to Hotel Occupancy - On Tuesday, April 14th, at 12pm (CDT) there will a webinar regarding the issues hotel owners and operators should be considering to ensure that you are able to return to normal operations as quickly as possible and restore occupancy levels once shelter-in-place and other restrictions impacting guest travel have been lifted. This webinar will provide practical legal guidance on actions to take now, with a particular focus on issues related to unionized workforces and OSHA considerations following the pandemic. Register here.
* 4/10/20 Important Poll - Oklahoma Hotels and COVID-19 Impact - We need your help in telling the story of how Oklahoma's hotel industry has been impacted by COVID-19. This poll will enable OH&LA to share with our Governor and legislative leaders the true story of this impact. Please take a moment to complete this poll. We will not share your proprietary information.
* 4/5/20 Hotel Leasing Interest? OH&LA is now working with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The have informed us that their full strategy will be developed this week, and it will be communicated to OH&LA with regard to hotels helping to meet the housing capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will inform our members as the plan is confirmed. In the meantime, if your hotel is interested in entering into a temporary lease agreement with state government there is still time. Please complete this online form. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
* 3/30/20 Has Your Property Closed? If you have closed one or more of your hotels, please help us by completing this form. This form submitted directly to OH&LA, will assist us in building a complete list. We ask that you do not email, and instead submit through this form.
* 3/27/20 ORA and OH&LA partner with Feed the Children and Crossings Community Church to provide more than 400 Hospitality Relief Packages to hospitality workers in Oklahoma City. To apply for assistance complete this application. Our giving link to support future distributions for hospitality workers. https://www.feedthechildren.org/ora
* 3/25/20 Hotels to Stay Open: After Governor Stitt's press conference yesterday and his new Executive Order, there was some confusion on whether or not his order qualified hotels as "non-essential businesses" meaning they would have to close. We have just confirmed with the Governor's office that hotels are considered "essential businesses" and are to remain open and DO NOT HAVE TO CLOSE at midnight tonight.