COVID Aid Bill

COVID AidIndustry insiders report that a long-delayed COVID aid package is close to be cemented. This package will help businesses hit hard by the pandemic, including the travel and meetings industry.

Pressure for a COVID aid package is intense.  Unemployment benefits run out Dec. 26 for more than 10 million people, many businesses are barely hanging on after nine months of the pandemic, and money is needed to distribute new vaccines that are finally offering hope for returning the country to normal, says the AP.

The U.S. Travel Association (USTA) is watching these proceedings carefully. USTA Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued the following statement on COVID-19 relief negotiations in Washington:

“It will be important to watch how the process plays out over the next few days, but we are encouraged by the clear bipartisan support for a measure that would help save some of the 4.5 million travel and tourism jobs that are projected to be lost by year’s end.

“Travel and tourism, which supported employment for one in 10 Americans pre-pandemic, has been spiraling for months while a relief agreement has remained just beyond political reach. It is crucial that Congress stay laser-focused on getting a measure across the finish line this year, and that it includes an expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program to include eligibility for non-profit destination marketing organizations and a second draw of funds for the hardest-hit industries.

“It’s also important to keep in mind that whatever is passed is a critical bridge for hurting businesses to have any hope of making it to 2021. It is imperative that Congress act now.”

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