On the legislative front: FRLA, our tourism partners, and our members have been working hard to defeat Senate Bill 2008, which would expand the approved uses of Florida’s Tourist Development Taxes and Convention Development Taxes, which were adopted by voter referendum for the promotion and marketing of tourism in Florida.
In addition to member engagement, social media campaigns, and direct messaging with key legislators in both the Florida House and Senate, yesterday FRLA sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Community Affairs urging them to protect Florida tourism dollars and oppose the bill today in Committee. We shared the letter and our opposition in a press release earlier today as well. If you missed it, it is linked here. Moments ago, during the Senate Community Affairs Committee hearing, the bill was TP’d. This means that the bill will remain in this committee and will not be able to move forward unless it is heard and passed by this Committee again at a future date. While it is possible that this could be the end for SB 2008, we will continue to closely monitor this bill and keep you updated.
Following President Biden’s signing of the American Rescue Plan, FRLA has been working to keep all Florida restaurants informed on the likely application requirements and process for funding through the $28.6 Billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). While the Small Business Administration (SBA) will oversee the program, it had not yet released guidance or an application. Despite what we initially thought and shared, today, the SBA confirmed that applicants for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund WILL NOT need to register with the federal government for a DUNS number OR on SAM.GOV as previously thought. This will allow for a streamlined and simplified application process for restaurants. No additionally details were provided. The SBA has said that the phased rollout of the RRF grant program will begin in early April, so we expect more information very soon. We will keep you updated on all of the latest news, including applications and requirement guidelines, as soon as we have them.