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During this unprecedented time, the Oklahoma Restaurant Association, Oklahoma Hotel & Lodging Association and, Oklahoma Travel Industry Association in partnership, continue 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 Governor’s 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 helpdesk@okrestaurants.com.
 
TOURISM SPECIFIC RESOURCES: 

•  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.
•  7/1/20  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 people’s 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.
•  6/29/20  Let's Do Our Part - U.S. Travel Reacts to EU Travel Ban
U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued the following statement in response to the formal announcement that the European Union will still exclude travelers from the U.S. as it opens its borders:
"The E.U.'s announcement is incredibly disappointing, and a step in the wrong direction as we seek to rebuild our global economy. We are at a stage when it should be possible to make progress. This is unwelcome news, and will have major negative implications for an economic recovery, particularly if this ban results in cycles of retaliation, as is so often the case."
•  6/29/20  FAQs for the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) - The U.S. Department of Treasury issued new FAQs for the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), which clarify that state and local governments may use CRF funds for expenses to re-market convention facilities and the tourism industry. Click here to view.
•  6/29/20  Upcoming Webinar: Unmasking the Power of AI - On July 1st at 9am CDT, Adara will be hosting a webinar regarding customer data and identity. They will dive into how AI can help drive your travel marketing efforts. Click here to register.
•  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 and social distancing needs to be continued. 
•  6/24/20  Upcoming Webinar - On June 26 at 9:30am, the U.S. Travel Association National Chair and Destination DC President and CEO Elliott Ferguson will lead a discussion regarding a previous webinar with several leaders from the black community on race and racism in the travel industry, who shared their experiences and insights on how we can make meaningful changes in the workplace to promote racial equality at all levels. Click here to register.
•  6/24/20  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  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.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association, 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  #TravelConfidently Toolkit - Four in 10 Americans are still feeling uncertain about traveling, and 63% are looking for enhanced cleaning protocols when they decide to take a trip. When we all do our part, we can all #travelconfidently. Click here for free toolkit to communicate industry-wide health and safety guidelines to your travelers.
•  6/22/20  S. 3992 Bill - Senators Cruz (R-TX), Rubio (R-FL) and Scott (R-SC) have officially introduced S. 3992, a bill to expand eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to DMOs of all statuses who have 300 or fewer employees. Providing economic relief to DMOs is vital for our industry and the broader U.S. economy and has been a top priority of ours since the CARES Act was first passed.
•  6/22/20  U.S. Travel: Weekly Data Report - The U.S. Travel has sent out an analysis by Tourism Economics that shows a week by week outlook on travel spending in the U.S, as well as multiple registration opportunities for upcoming webinars. Click here to view the full report.
•  6/22/20 ESTO 2020 Has Been Canceled - Unfortunately ESTO 2020 has been cancelled, a difficult but necessary response to the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance of Michigan public health authorities prohibits large public gatherings. All paid registrations for 2020 will be refunded in full and will be processed within 90 days. If you have any questions regarding the refund process, please contact esto@ustravel.org.
•  5/27/20  Liability Protection - One of the requests made by the ORA, OH&LA & OTIA to the state legislature was some protection from frivolous lawsuits related to alleged exposure to COVID-19 in your business. The legislature listened to our concerns and passed SB 1946 to provide that protection. It was signed by the Governor and is now law. You can read the text of the bill here.
•  5/27/20  Preparing for the Return of In-Person Meetings - With partners from across the broader travel, health and safety communities, Meetings Mean Business aligned on six key principles for reopening, based on recent guidance from the U.S. Travel Association. Click here to read the reopening principals. 
•  5/20/20  Oklahoma's Recovery from COVID-19: Introducing the Daily Travel Index - We hope you enjoyed this morning's webinar. Arrivalist, in cooperation with Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department, shared the latest research and travel patterns facing our industry. Click here to view a recording from today's webinar. Arrivalist also provided us with the slideshows, if you were unable to attend. Click here to view. 
•  5/13/20  House Unveils Next Relief Bill - House Democrats unveiled their draft of the next round of coronavirus relief legislation, a $3 trillion package with a number of notable provisions for our industry. Summaries can be found here and here. While we expect the final bill to look substantially different, we are pleased with the show of support for our industry. Most notably, the bill expands eligibility of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to 501(c) nonprofit organizations, a development that U.S. Travel has extensively advocated for in order to provide additional support to DMOs. In addition, the bill enhances the PPP by:

  • Providing flexible loan forgiveness through December 31st to cover both payroll and non-payroll expenses
  • Modifying the deadline for rehiring employees to December 31st, as well as exemptions if employers are unable to rehire their employees

•  5/13/20  COVID-19 Disaster Relief Grants for OKC Small Businesses - Businesses with five or fewer employees located within designated Urban Renewal Areas may apply for a grant on the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority (OCURA)  website for up to $10,000. The Oklahoma City Council voted to approve the $400,000 program which will provide funds for disaster relief to some of the smallest local businesses in low or moderate income areas. Click here to learn more.
•  5/11/20  More Trade Groups Ask For Liability Protections - Countless airlines, amusement parks, casinos, hotels, movie theaters and restaurants are among the industries pushing for liability protections. The American Hotel & Lodging Association, Airlines for America, the American Gaming Association, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the National Association of Theatre Owners, the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation, the U.S. Travel Association and dozens of other trade groups sent a letter to lawmakers this morning urging them to include such protections in the next coronavirus relief bill. Click here to view the Liability Sign-On Letter. The American Association for Justice — which represents trial lawyers — and a coalition of unions and consumer groups have been fighting the proposals. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the matter this Tuesday. We will keep you updated once we learn more. 
•  5/7/20  Call to Action: H.R. 6697 PPP Bill - Reps. Pappas (D-NH), Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Cisneros (D-CA) and Steube (R-FL) introduced H.R. 6697, the "Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act of 2020," which would allow all types of destination marketing organizations including both 501(c)(6) and quasi-governmental entities with less than 300 employees eligibility into the Paycheck Protection Program. The bill is an important first step as Congress begins to negotiate that next relief package, but with your help, we can have an even bigger impact. Please contact your representative and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 6697.
•  5/4/20  Happy National Travel & Tourism Week! - Join your travel colleagues for a #VirtualRoadTrip on May 5th across America, highlighting the destinations, small businesses and attractions that make up America’s Spirit of Travel to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week! Click here to view the full schedule.
•  5/4/20  Travel is the New Normal - The U.S. travel industry submitted to the White House and governors a document containing detailed guidance for travel-related businesses to help keep their customers and employees safe as the country emerges from the pandemic. It describes vigorous measures the industry will follow to reduce the risk of spread. The goal: to allow travel to safely resume as states and municipalities relax physical distancing guidance. Click here to read the full guidance.
•  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
  • Password: 101003

•  4/17/20  Travel Data Resources - Following the issuance of guidance from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Department of the Treasury, six CARES Act relief resources have been updated:

•  4/10/20  Important U.S. Travel Association Update - The U.S. Travel Association sent Congress a series of technical corrections and enhancements to the CARES Act to help ensure businesses and workers in the broader travel and tourism industry have access to additional relief in future packages. They also sent several letters to Congressional leadership, including a letter signed by more than 600 DMOs and CVBs requesting inclusion in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in upcoming relief packages. There was also a webinar that you can view here answering specific questions about access to provisions within the CARES Act for 501(c) nonprofits and local travel-related quasi-government organizations.
•  4/5/20  The Daily Travel Index - As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, we have repeatedly heard two questions from the Travel & Tourism Industry community:

  • How do I quantify the impact of COVID-19 on travel to my community, destination or business?
  • What should I look to as a leading indicator to help my organization plan during the recovery phase?

To help answer these questions, here is a free tool for the travel industry, the Daily Travel Index. It measures consumer road trips of 50 miles or more by residents and more heavily focuses on the the DTI of drive markets. This will give marketers a daily indication of when travel activity stabilizes and, most importantly, begin to recover since the fly markets are more likely to follow the drive markets after the pandemic passes.

•  4/3/20  U.S. Travel Association: 501 (c) Document & Other Resources - The U.S. Travel Association created a Relief Resources page, including a quick guide to eligibility that outlines exactly what funding programs are available to you. If you are a 501(c)(6) organization, here is a document that should be helpful in understanding what 501(c)(6) organizations are able to access.

•  4/3/20  Economic Impact: A Weekly Analysis - New analysis by Tourism Economics shows a weekly outlook on travel spending, as well as a state breakdown. National weekly travel spending dropped to just $3.8 billion last week, down from $19.8 billion during the first week of March.

  • This equates to a $17.8 billion loss in travel spending last week alone, compared to 2019 (an 82% drop)
  • The gap between regions shrunk since last week and all regions suffered strong declines ranging from 78% (Midwest) to 83% (Northeast)
  • Hawaii surpassed New York to register the strongest percentage decline of any state (90%)
  • Since March 28, travel spending losses for the month totaled $42 billion

 •  4/2/20  Webinar Recap: Destinations Analyst - Earlier this week Destination Analysts put together a webinar regarding the Coronavirus Travel Sentiment Index. Here is a recap of how travel sentiment has changed over the past three weeks.



 If you have any questions about this email or the above resources, please don't hesitate to contact Jim Hopper by email or at 405-942-8181. 
 
COVID-19

What's Happening
07.06.20
The ORA Expo date has been changed! The new date of the is Wednesday and Thursday - December 2-3, 2020. For the health and safety of attendees and exhibitors, the ORA Expo Promise will be implemented, which will provide numerous health and safety measures. Please make plans to join us for the ORA Expo in early December.
04.29.20
The ORA is proud to announce its Oklahoma Restaurant Promise (ORP) campaign. The objective of the ORP is to help restaurants instill confidence with customers as they choose to return to dine-in service at Oklahoma restaurants. The Promise communicates your restaurant's pledge for the safety of your staff and customers, by each following the Promise.
06.05.20
Oklahoma has implemented a three-phased approach to open Oklahoma’s economy back up, and is currently in Phase 3 as of June 1, 2020. Click here to view the most up-to-date restaurant and bar guidelines.
05.08.20
In order to serve our members in recovery and restart efforts, the Oklahoma Restaurant Association has developed a “live” google document of businesses who offer products and services specific to COVID-19 recovery efforts, as well as a list of providers for menu and promotional solutions. Relative businesses may at any time add themselves to this list, which can be accessed by clicking here.
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