The New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association said March 12 that Dana Lancellotti – the current director of tourism and business development for Ocean County – will take the reins of the trade group on March 29.
Lancellotti will replace Marilou Halvorsen, the NJHRA’s outgoing president and chief executive officer, who in turn will be the vice president of state relations and government affairs at the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
“I’ve known Dana for over 20 years and am so pleased to see her take the reins. She will do a tremendous job for the association and its members,” Halvorsen said in a March 12 statement. “The restaurant industry has been devastated by the pandemic… Strong leadership is critical at this time.”
Halvorsen’s final year as the NJHRA’s CEO has been marked by a global pandemic which has forced many restaurants to close for months on end, and now operate at reduced capacity and with intense restrictions on businesses, meant to contain the spread of the virus among indoor settings.
The food and hospitality industries have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the NJHRA estimated that 37% of the state’s restaurants will either be temporarily or permanently closed.