FRLA Applauds GCCF Administrator Ken Feinberg for Changing Position on Oil Spill Proximity Issue for Hospitality Industry Claimants

October 4, 2010 – Today Ken Feinberg, Administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), announced that geographic proximity to the BP oil spill would not prevent a legitimate individual or business claim from being processed.

“This is incredible news for hundreds of thousands businesses and employees in the hospitality industry who have been adversely impacted by the BP oil spill across the Sunshine State,” said Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association President/CEO Carol Dover.  “Our restaurateurs and hoteliers have been denied claims due to the proximity issue; however, there is no question our members have taken a huge economic hit by the perception that oil had washed ashore Florida’s white, sandy beaches,” continued Dover, who also serves on the Governor’s Gulf Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force and its Economic Impact Assessment Working Group.

Feinberg continues to review each claim on a case-by-case basis and claimants must prove damages resulting from the spill itself and not other causes, but “physical proximity from the spill will not, in and of itself, bar the processing of legitimate claims,” he said.

On September 14, 2010, Feinberg addressed the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) board members at their annual meeting held in Orlando and announced he would seriously consider changing his emergency protocol criteria to now include the payment of claims whether or not a Florida hotelier or restaurateur experienced oil washing up on their shore.  His remarks may be viewed here

FRLA today holds the first of 19 statewide oil spill briefings in 14 cities in order to provide an overview of the claims process and assist in determining whether a claim exists for losses due to the BP oil spill and, if so, the extent of those losses going forward.  FRLA is working with the law firms of Weitz & Luxenberg, Levin Papantonio and Cooney & Conway.  For a complete schedule of the regional oil spill claims briefings, please go to

In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill that has devastated areas of Northwest Florida, FRLA has led the charge in representing the industry through marketing, communications, tourism briefings, claims procedures, and paid advertisements to let the world know that Florida is Open for Business.

On September 15, 2010, Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced $700,000 to speed the economic recovery for Florida’s hospitality industry affected by the oil spill. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation will return to the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association funds originally intended to support the hospitality industry for use in an enhanced advertising of upcoming coastal events.  The campaign will work to attract potential visitors who may have postponed, or previously cancelled, their travel to Florida. The campaign, dubbed “Back to the Beach – ‘Fall Back into Summer,’” will encourage participation in fishing tournaments, concerts, a songwriter’s festival and seafood festivals to promote Florida tourism.

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