Includes Important Relief for NC Restaurants, Hotels, Attractions, Venues, and Taverns
Raleigh, NC (Nov. 18, 2021) –The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA) applauds the General Assembly and Governor Cooper for working together to pass and sign the State Budget. With the adoption of the state budget today, NC policy makers sent a strong message of support to struggling NC restaurants, hotels, bars, attractions and venues. The budget includes a number of key measures the hospitality industry has been asking for in order to help speed its recovery, after pandemic shutdowns and mandates wreaked havoc on the state’s hospitality and tourism industry.
Throughout the pandemic and during the 2021 legislative session, NCRLA has fought for state and federal relief for the hospitality and tourism industry. With input from thousands of small business owners from across the state, NCRLA developed and outlined several key policy priorities early in 2021 with its Blueprint for Revival of the NC Hospitality Industry. Later, in June 2021 NCRLA expanded its policy recommendations and added an Addendum to the Blueprint that outlined specific ways the state’s allocation of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding could be targeted to specifically help the hospitality industry rebound. Many of these initiatives are included in the state’s budget bill (SB 105), which was signed into law on Nov. 18. This includes $500 million in direct state grants to businesses that experienced losses of 20% or more during the pandemic.
“Our collective efforts were heard and rewarded with critical funding and policies, including a grant program that will help hospitality and tourism businesses rebuild and recover from this pandemic, rebuild our NC hospitality workforce, and help restore lives and careers shattered during the pandemic,” said Lynn Minges, President and CEO of the NCRLA. “We are grateful to have policy makers on both sides of the aisle who stood with us and stepped up to provide meaningful relief when we need it most.”
The $500 million grant program included in North Carolina’s state budget is the largest appropriation from any state for the hospitality industry in the country. Under this program, an individual business could receive up to $500,000 in direct grants, which can cover rent, payroll costs, operating expenses, and other expenses related to addressing the pandemic. Since the hospitality industry was especially hard hit, $300 million of these funds are specifically protected for businesses in NAICS Code 71 & 72, which is primarily restaurants, hotels, bars, and other entertainment businesses.
“This funding is vital because before the pandemic the hospitality industry generated more than $27.3 billion annually and employed more than 11% of the state’s workforce. Today the industry is still down about 48,000 jobs and collectively down $5.6 billion in taxable sales,” Minges continued.
Other hospitality industry priorities that NCRLA directly lobbied for and that are included in the state’s budget bill (SB 105) are:
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Expense Deductibility
- $5 Million for Hospitality Industry Workforce Development
- $400,000 in Funding for ProStart—High School Career and Technical Education Programming to Prepare Students for Hospitality Industry Careers
- $30 million in Additional Tourism Marketing Funds
Read more on these industry priorities that were included in the budget and look for more information to come.
The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA) serves to advance and protect the interests of more than 20,000 businesses that employ 11 percent of the state’s workforce and generate more than $27.3 billion in sales annually. Learn more at www.ncrla.org.
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