U.S. travel industry executives have submitted Congress and administrative policy demands for the next coronavirus relief package, citing concerns the industry will remain depressed even after the recovery begins. The list of proposals includes measures to help travel employers survive the worst of the recession; assistance for health-related necessities such as robust sanitary facilities and personal protective equipment; and possibly incentives for Americans to travel safely again when reopening is fully possible. Click here for all COVID-19 coverage from hotel management. Before the pandemic, one in 10 US jobs were supported by the travel industry, but since the outbreak, more than half of the 15.8 million people in related positions have lost their jobs. Spikes in infection and setbacks on plans to reopen are likely to delay any rebound, according to the petition. Post COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: The New Customer Experience Join Elaine Simon from the hotel management for our last roundtable – Post COVID-19: The New Customer Experience. Panel experts will share how to instill customer confidence that hotels are safe and clean and how to win back customers. What Travel Workers Need “You name it, this industry and its workers need it,” said US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Travel companies could not have prepared for this level of disaster, and it is unclear how many of the 8 million jobs we have lost so far will remain lost without aggressive federal intervention to keep it going. industry alive. Travel agencies have worked hard to retain their workers, but most have not generated any income for four months now, and if they are forced to shut down, they won’t be there to rehire anyone, even when the trips can resume. “Our demands on Congress are great because the problem is huge and is only growing before our eyes.” Legislative demands from the travel industry include: Extending the payroll protection program until the end of the year; expand eligibility for destination marketing organizations – non-profit and quasi-government entities that lead economic development; increase the loan amount; and allow a second loan. In any transition to a longer term solution, DMOs and other non-profit organizations should be included. Provide up to $ 10 billion in federal grants to promote safe and healthy travel practices that are essential to the resumption of travel. Provide temporary and targeted liability protections for reopening travel companies. Create temporary tax credits and deductions, including: a tax credit to encourage Americans to travel at the right time; a tax credit to revive activity in the business meetings and events sector, including conventions and exhibitions; increase the deductibility of professional and representation expenses; and a tax credit to help businesses of all sizes offset the cost of mitigating the spread of COVID-19, including the cost of structural barriers and personal protective equipment. Improve the tax credit for employee retention to increase the ability of businesses to retain and re-hire workers. Support airports. Dow stressed that government action alone will not accelerate the recovery. “For jobs to return, everyone has to wear masks in public,” he said. “It is so clear that masks and other good health practices are absolutely essential to dispel the health crisis and make an economic rebound possible. The country’s collective record on this must improve, otherwise the pain will only last longer. Continued slowdown After some positive signs of recovery, national weekly travel spending fell 10 percent in the week ending July 11 from the previous week, which included the July 4 vacation according to the US Travel Association . Even car travel, which had driven much of the domestic travel market, fell “precipitously”, down about 18% from the previous week, while air travel remained about the same. . According to a weekly survey by Destination Analysts, the percentage of people planning to travel this fall fell to 36% for the week of June 12, from 50% in early June. Meanwhile, Harris Poll numbers from Harris Insights and Analytics show: 58% of leisure travelers say they will replace vacations with stays for the rest of the year. While 43% say they miss flying on an airplane, only 37% say they feel safe right now. 74% of business travelers are more likely to replace business meetings that require a flight with virtual meetings for the rest of the year. More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents support states putting in place mandatory 14-day quarantines for out-of-state travelers from states with a strong resurgence of COVID-19. In total, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in losses of nearly $ 285 billion to the travel economy in the United States, according to the latest forecast prepared for the US Travel Association by Tourism Economics. Until the end of 2020, the report estimates $ 505 billion in losses for the travel industry, for a total of $ 81 billion in federal, state and local taxes lost by the end of 2020. L The travel industry is not expected to recover until 2024. Small Business Comeback Act In addition to the help requested by travel industry leaders, representatives Filemon Vela (D-TX) and Lance Gooden (R-TX) seek to create a fund that would bring stability to American companies. The Small Business Comeback Act would complement business assistance provided under the Coronavirus Help, Relief and Economic Security Act, and provide streamlined and personalized federal support to small businesses most affected by COVID -19. “This bill aims to fill the gaps in previous legislation by providing immediate relief in the form of flexible grants to institutions in need,” said Vela. Relief is intended to help establishments retain and rehire employees, maintain worker benefits, and continue or resume economic activity. According to a statement on Vela’s page, the Comeback Act includes “strong anti-abuse protections” and would prioritize support for businesses that serve low- and middle-income communities as well as women-owned and minority-owned businesses. The American Hotel & Lodging Association has previously expressed support for the Small Business Comeback Act. .
People pick up Food Bank food in a food kitchen around New York City in the Barclays Center plaza on April 24, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York.
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images
Food banks are closed because they struggle to compete with coronavirus and provide food aid to millions of people.
Voluntary assistance has been reduced because of social distance and fear of contracting and spreading disease.
To face the challenges brought by the plague, the food bank has implemented a new protocol for handling and shipping food and maintaining a stable supply. But these challenges have transferred many burdens to the food bank itself, leading to skyrocketing operating costs and uncertainty about how long they will be able to respond.
“There is never enough money,” said philanthropist Jean Shafiroff, a board member of the New York City Mission Society, which serves children and families living at or below the poverty level.
Hunger, a continuing problem in the United States, affected more than 37 million people in 2018, according to a report from the Department of Agriculture. Households with children are more likely to experience food insecurity, according to Feeding America, the largest food bank network in the country. Often, food insecure households depend on local food banks and other hunger relief organizations to get support.
But frontline workers are preparing for more dire conditions, because the government continues to push for protection warnings on the spot and when the unemployment rate continues to rise. Some food banks have told CNBC that they are anticipating an increase in the coming months in the number of people seeking adequate food supplies for themselves and their families.
The outbreak has spread to dozens of countries globally, with more than 3 million confirmed cases worldwide and more than 211,522 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University on Tuesday. The US has at least 988,000 cases, including more than 56,000 deaths.
This story is based on conversations with six food banks in New York, New Jersey, California, Texas, and Washington, D.C., five regions that have witnessed the highest number of confirmed cases in the country.
Nearly a third of the nation’s food pantry has been closed in recent weeks, according to the New York City Mission Society.
The small food bank in New York City, which has become a center for the spread of the corona virus, has been closed because “they have not gotten food to distribute or they do not have volunteers to manage them,” Shafiroff told CNBC. He added that many volunteers stopped their services in their 60s and 70s, making them high-risk candidates to contract the most severe forms of the virus.
When small food banks close, people seek help from larger organizations, such as the Food Bank for New York City, which provides around 58 million meals a year. But even with its larger resource network, the organization is still struggling, and “some of the food pantry has been closed,” Shafiroff said.
Across the country, other food banks also report closing pantry, which often helps large banks distribute food directly to communities in need. Food banks in California, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington, D.C., told CNBC that they had witnessed the closure of food pantry or other distribution agencies and not-for-profit partners with them to deliver food.
Some food banks experienced a decrease in the amount of food donated. Capital Food Food Bank in Washington saw a 75% decline in donated food supplies, CEO Radha Muthiah told CNBC. “It’s only about a week we start seeing this change,” Muthiah said. “There is not enough time to plan and anticipate this dramatic fall.”
In addition, the D.C. food bank will take longer without receiving food.
“What normally takes us eight to 12 days after we order a truckload of food can take up to eight weeks for our food supply to arrive,” Muthiah said. Products that are stable on a shelf that can be stored at room temperature such as canned tuna, canned chicken, and peanut butter can take the longest time to arrive.
Demand has never been higher
Despite the closure and shortage of staff and supplies, demand for food has never been higher, forcing food banks to quickly learn how to increase their efforts with fewer resources at hand than usual.
“Our institution has reported an increase in the range anywhere between 40 and 100% increase in individuals accessing emergency food services,” said Natalie Caples, chief operating officer at Central California Food Bank, which serves about 70,000 families a month.
“We are really pushing our operations to the max now. Every truck out is full, basically overweight,” Caples said.
Central Texas Food Bank serves about 50,000 people a week before social distance guidelines are encouraged. When the virus increased in the United States at the end of winter, the food bank began serving 22,000 new people. “And we are starting to see the numbers increase during the first few weeks of April,” CEO Derrick Chubbs told CNBC.
“What we usually see is a large number of poor workers – individuals who will work in restaurants, bars, hotels, service workers – who depend on us to help them through the last week of the month when they usually try to decide whether to pay for drugs for children their children, pay utilities, or buy food, “Chubbs said. “Today, the possibility of unemployment is higher. People who need us once a month now need us every week.”
Food donations are down, which means the food bank must find alternative ways to get the same supply flow. They switch to buying their own food using a larger portion of their budget to make it happen.
The Community Food Bank of New Jersey, the largest in the state, lost around 800,000 pounds of food donated in March and April, CEO Carlos Rodriguez told CNBC. To make a difference, the New Jersey food bank began buying food, spending $ 945,000 a month since March.
Monetary contributions continue to increase. Some food banks have told CNBC that financial donations from supporters and corporate foundations have been more generous lately, and individual money contributions have not stopped despite the slowdown in the national economy.
“I think this is proof of the generosity of the people,” Rodriguez said. “The one who can contribute clearly is.”
Some food banks have found other income streams and opportunities that help make ends meet.
Capital Food Food Bank has formed partnerships with Bank of America and Mars, a candy company, each of which is donating $ 500,000 to help the organization’s efforts to provide food for “new food insecurity,” Muthiah said.
Central California Food Bank has partnered with local technology companies to facilitate shipping for individuals who are bound at home such as seniors and people with disabilities, according to Caples.
Customers who can take their food also receive big changes. To minimize contact with food, volunteers and staff members at food banks throughout the United States have begun producing boxing and stable items on shelves such as pasta, rice and canned food.
Before the pandemic, kitchens and banks often distributed their food following the so-called “client choice model,” where an individual could choose from a variety of products. Usually, “it is regulated like a farmers market,” Muthiah said. “People will walk, take what they like, a little long, asking for a recipe card. All of that has ended to minimize exposure.“
Other food banks now follow a similar model. Central Texas Food Bank has the remaining staff and volunteers building emergency food boxes that hold about 28 pounds of food. Families and individuals drive to distribution points and open the trunk of their cars, allowing workers to place one of the boxes with food in it while avoiding all unnecessary contact.
This unusual demand will persist even when coronavirus subsides, representatives of several food banks say.
The food bank predicts people who struggle financially for a long time and hope to be able to continue to respond to their food needs over time.
“We are now moving to what we call the new normal,” Muthiah said.
“Even if there is a vaccine and the corona effect will start to diminish, the economic impact is here for some time to come. So we see this as a situation that we have to face, respond to it the following year.” “
So in the last few weeks, food banks have had to balance double duty: quickly adjust to new food distribution protocols to prioritize safety and avoid contamination while at the same time creating sustainable operations that last far beyond coronavirus.
In the near future, several large food banks will likely not host or be part of a large fundraising event, said Shafiroff, a board member of seven non-profit organizations in New York.
“Too coincidental,” he said.
Apart from raising money, there are still concerns about where the food will come from in the near future.
Chubbs is worried about “what it will be like 45 to 60 days from now, when we all – not only retail merchants but all 200 food banks in the country – are trying to get food from the same vendor.”
If the vendor is no longer present, this will add another major hurdle.
PHOTO PHOTO: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaking in front of a pile of medical protection supplies during a press conference at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center which will be partly converted to a temporary hospital during a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in New York City, New York, USA, March 24, 2020. REUTERS / Mike Fresh / Photo File
(Reuters) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday that he would allow independent pharmacists to collect samples to test the new corona virus and would expand screening for antibodies, starting with first responders and other important workers.
Cuomo also told the daily briefing that hospitalizations across his state for COVID-19, a disease caused by a virus, had dropped to the same level as 21 days ago, the latest sign of the crisis abating.
reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut and Jessica Resnick-Ault; Editing by Marguerita Choy
An American woman who traveled to England to help her pregnant daughter, said that she was told to return to the United States by border officials at Heathrow on the grounds that her trip was not “important”.
63-year-old woman, who flew from Washington DC on Monday, said he was crying because of a hostile experience in passport control.
“I was so upset that I couldn’t help crying,” said Yoshie Rymar. “The agent told me to go to the ticket window to get the ticket back and return to the US. I could not believe what I was hearing, and I did not know what to do. “
This Japanese-born American has visited her daughter several times before and did not expect to be rejected.
“When I was in line at the passport control section, there was a very handsome woman in front of me who was quick in the process. So I expect the same thing when my turn comes. However, I wore a black knitted hat, glasses and a mask to protect myself. I was told to take it off because it was difficult for us to communicate. He was irritated by my request to repeat his question.
“I explained how my daughter needed me because of her pregnancy and toddler. There was an agent next to him who spoke loudly and my hearing wasn’t that great, he was quite annoyed again. So he said to me, ‘How can you take care of your daughter if you can’t hear well?’ I think that is a very harsh comment and I hate this harsh statement. ”
He was asked if he had been tested for coronavirus and then denied entry. He was given no reason other than officials to explain that his trip was “not important”, his daughter said.
Colin Yeo, an immigration lawyer, said as far as he knew there were no legal requirements to show that the trip was important before officially entering Britain.
The only one government-issued travel advice liaise with British citizens abroad, with updates after a virus outbreak advising British citizens who travel abroad to return home.
“So far I have not announced changes to the rules of entry into the United Kingdom, and refused the entry of family members as visitors because their trip was considered unimportant because it was considered unlawful,” Yeo said.
Rymar’s daughter, Rachel, who is married and lives in London, said his confused mother at the airport.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard him so annoyed. He sobbed and me too.
“He landed and called to say he wanted to see me and half an hour later he called to say he was sent back,” Rachel said. “He was not given documents to sign or given written reasons but was told it was not an important trip and he had to return to the BA desk and return to the US on the next flight.
“I’m still upset. I am glad he returned home and survived, but it was a very bad day. We are both very desperate and now I am trying hard to try to make other plans, “he said.
“He will only stay here for a maximum of five months, both within the allowable six months – he is returning for September.”