How is This Crisis Impacting Oregonís Iconic Industries?

Published Friday, April 17, 2020

Our state is known for its local produce, diverse cuisine and top-notch chefs. The economic fallout of COVID-19 has hit them especially hard. The Portland Business Journal’s Jonathan Bach spoke to several in the restaurant industry about their unique experiences and how they’re handling the crisis. 

“Restaurants are as Oregon as Crater Lake and pinot noir,” Bach wrote. “But economists cast doubt on whether every eatery will survive the crisis. 

“’The restaurants will be fighting two fronts at once: an economic downturn and ongoing fear by some to gather in large groups,’ said John Tapogna, president of economic consulting firm ECONorthwest.’” Read the full article here. 

Similarly, travel and tourism are among Oregon’s most important economic engines and have been uniquely devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants and lodging represent about 5% of the Oregon economy, the largest single sector behind healthcare. This includes around 200,000 jobs at an estimated 12,500 locations across Oregon. 

Targeted tax relief is vital to ensuring that Oregon’s travel and tourism industry can endure the drastic decrease in bookings seen in recent weeks and survive this crisis. Allowing lodging providers and intermediaries to defer remittance of their state and local transient lodging taxes through Q3 of 2020 would help hotels, motels and other businesses to retain employees and continue to process often critical refunds for travelers. Since Oregon law requires transient lodging tax (TLT) revenue to be spent on tourism promotion, deferred remittance of TLTs could provide immediate flexibility and relief to these local businesses without reducing the amount of state funds available for emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis.