OHIO TRAVEL ASSOCIATION AND OHIO HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION SHARE THE NEED FOR MORE FOCUSED RELIEF FOR TRAVEL ECONOMY BUSINESSES
While steps to provide businesses with 25 or fewer employees $10,000 grants, the $2,500 assistance for on-premises liquor permit holders, support for some (but not all) arts and culture organizations, and the dividend from Ohio's workers' compensation fund will direct some much-needed financial support across the spectrum, Ohio Travel Association and partners at the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association have contacted Governor DeWine and other state officials to call attention to the very real and acute impact that the pandemic and the response to it have had on Ohio’s travel economy. See our joint letter here.
Businesses in the travel sector continue to be the most impacted, with devastating results, permanent job losses, and lasting damage to our economic infrastructure on the horizon. OHLA and OTA are calling for additional steps for emergency economic relief.
Our suggestions for assistance to museums, hotels, meeting venues, and other travel economy victims of the pandemic include business interruption grants and local matches from federal CARES Act funds, needs-based eligibility to help the most impacted businesses with levels of funding that will help them survive and preserve jobs, and help for entities left out of economic assistance to date, including the many 501(c)(6) entities that perform critical economic development activities though destination marketing and support of travel industries.
In anticipation of additional federal support that could be directed to the states after the election, it is our hope that the state will recognize some critical realities:
SMALL BUSINESS AND BAR/RESTAURANT RELIEF AWARDED ON A FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED BASIS BEGINING NOV. 2.
If you are eligible for the two programs below, please apply early. The $125 million Ohio Small Business Relief Program is for for-profit businesses with 25 or fewer FTEs on Jan. 1. Businesses holding applicable liquor licenses are eligible for the $2,500 bar and restaurant assistance funding; this includes hotels and other venues with such licenses. Applications open Nov. 2, and $37.5 million will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you are eligible for both, you may apply for both.
ARTS AND CULTURE FUND IS AVAILABLE TO THOSE ALREADY RECEIVING OPERATING ASSISTANCE FROM OHIO ARTS COUNCIL - PLEASE APPLY ANYWAY TO SHOW NEED
An additional $20 million of relief is being made available to help arts and cultural institutions. This relief is being administered through the Ohio Arts Council and is restricted to those who already receive government operating support through the Ohio Arts Council. If you are not eligible, please complete the application anyway so we can continue to identify the need. Details and a link are available below, and this initial process does not appear to be a long one, so please complete their worksheet.
NONPROFIT ASSISTANCE FUND GUIDELINES ARE NOT AVAILABLE
An additional $25 million is being made available for nonprofits in Ohio. There are no details for this program as of this time. It is being administered through Ohio Jobs and Family Services.
GOVERNOR RELEASING BWC DIVIDENDS IN DECEMBER
Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday announced he would ask the Bureau of Workers' Compensation Board of Directors to approve a $5 billion dividend – the largest in the state's history. The governor said "in the next few days" the BWC board would hold a virtual meeting to vote on the request. The proposed dividend would be the third of more than $1 billion already issued this year. If approved, Gov. DeWine said checks would be distributed to employers in December. He said the city of Columbus is in line for the single largest dividend payment at about $64 million. (SOURCE: Gongwer)
HELP FOR THOSE BEHIND ON MORTGAGE, UTILITIES AND RENT DUE TO THE PANDEMIC
Ohioans who are behind on rent, mortgage, and water and/or sewer utility bills may be able to
receive assistance through the new Ohio Home Relief Program. Assistance can be applied to outstanding rent, mortgage, water, and/or sewer bills back to April 1, 2020. Ohioans can receive monthly assistance until the program ends on Dec. 30, 2020.
LOSS OF TRAVELER SPENDING HAS LED TO $11 BILLION IMPACT TO OHIO THUS FAR
Tourism Economics tracking of weekly spending shows that Ohio has lost $11 billion thus far since March. Ohio businesses experienced a $246 million loss the week ending Oct. 17 which is a 2% greater loss than experienced the week prior. This is the second week in a row Ohio losses have moved in the wrong direction for the good of Ohio and its businesses.
This loss in traveler spending is having a direct impact on federal, state and local tax revenues as well. A loss of $323 million in state sales tax receipts has occurred thus far due to traveler spending loss, as is $191 million in lost local sales tax receipts. Federal tax revenues are down $690 million due to the loss of Ohio travel.
INCREASED CASES LINKED TO GROWING CONCERNS, TRAVELER CONFIDENCE IS GROWING ON HOW TO KEEP SAFE, WHAT BUSINESSES DO TO REINFORCE THIS IS ESSENTIAL FOR BOOKING BUSINESS
Key findings from Destination Analysts survey fielded Oct. 23-25, 2020:
INCREASED COMFORT STAYING IN HOTELS, UNUSED VACATION DAYS GROWING
Key findings from Engagious fielded Oct. 21, 2020
GIFTING TRAVEL FOR THE HOLIDAYS TRENDING, TRAVELERS SEEKING RELAXATION WHEN BOOKING TRIPS
Key findings from American Express released Oct. 28, 2020
GOVERNMENT RESTRICTIONS CITED AS GREATEST BARRIER TO BUSINESS TRAVEL
Key findings from Global Business Travel Association released Oct. 22, 2020
INCREASE IN CASES AND LACK OF CLARITY IN SAFETY PROTOCOLS PREVENTING BOOKINGS
Key findings from Longwoods International Traveler Sentiment Survey Week of Oct. 26.