Weekly Updates for Ohio's Travel Economy, July 31
New Guidelines and Mandates
EMERGENCY MEASURE TO BE DISCUSSED TODAY TO BAN LIQUOR SALES PAST 10 P.M.
Governor DeWine called for an Ohio Liquor Control Committee to consider an emergency measure to stop liquor sales at 10 p.m. wherever liquor is served, with all drinks having to be consumed by 11 p.m. If this emergency rule is approved after the committee meeting tomorrow at 9 a.m., the order will be signed Friday to be put into effect Friday night. This emergency rule includes all who serve alcohol. The existing ability of carryout meals to allow for two drinks will be expanded to a 3-drink limit.
GOVERNOR MANDATES JUNIOR FAIRS ONLY AFTER JULY 31
All fairs starting on or after July 31 will be limited to Junior Fairs only and will only include 4-H and FFA competitions. There will be no grandstand events, rides or games. Unless show events extend beyond, the Junior Fairs will have a 10 p.m. curfews.
OHIO TRAVEL SPENDING DOWN $8 BILLION - LOSSES TO BUSINESSES AND COMMUNITIES
U.S. Travel released its report tracking weekly spending this morning. The Ohio travel economy has lost $8 billion since March, according to weekly reports tracking year-over-year activity each week. This loss means $500 million less federal tax dollars, $234 million less state tax revenues and $139 million less for local governments.
APPLY FOR OHIO HUMANITIES CARES II GRANT STARTING TODAY
In this time of pandemic and economic crisis, Ohio Humanities will use CARES Act funds provided by Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide grants to public humanities organizations throughout the state. OH CARES II Grants will provide direct support to organizations whose viability has been endangered by the sudden onset of the pandemic and economic crisis. $60,000 is available for applications requesting up to $5,000. The initial deadline is Aug.14. Additional deadlines may be announced pending the availability of funds.
Federal Relief Proposals
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE HEALS ACT?
US Senate leadership released the HEALS Act this week that includes many of the requests the travel industry has advocated for the last few weeks. Look for several Legislative Action Alerts from OTA soon to help us get these inclusions to the finish line. Some of the items included in the first Senate version of the HEALS Act include the following (thanks to US Travel for providing much of this update):
- Expands eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to destination marketing organizations (DMO), including any 501(c) nonprofit, quasi-governmental organization or political subdivision of state or local government with 300 employees or less, using the standard maximum loan calculation.
- All other 501(c)(6) nonprofits are only eligible if they have under 50 employees and may only receive a loan of up to $500,000. Senate Leaders hear our collective voices and made an exception for DMOs and Chambers of Commerce, recognizing their critical importance to their communities and the broader U.S. economy.
- More on the bill’s PPP and small business loan provisions here.
- Extends the PPP through the remainder of the year and allows some small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofits who have already received a PPP loan to apply for a second loan.
- Other PPP provisions:
- Extends the loan application to Dec. 31, 2020;
- Reduces the maximum loan size from $10 million to $2 million;
- Expands the type of expenses eligible for loan forgiveness; and
- Allows borrowers to decide how long they want their covered period to last before applying for loan forgiveness, as long as it is between eight weeks after loan origination and Dec. 31, 2020.
- Creates a new recovery sector loans program for small businesses and seasonal businesses that meet certain criteria and who have not received a second PPP loan.
- Provides limited, temporary and immediate safe harbor for businesses that follow proper health and safety guidelines and takes steps to protect struggling businesses against frivolous lawsuits and abusive litigation.
- Creates temporary tax credits and deductions to provide much-needed tax relief:
- Allows full deductibility of meal expenses through Jan. 1, 2021, which will restore activity in the meetings and events sector.
- Enhances the Employee Retention Tax Credit to allow a larger credit per worker (65% of compensation per quarter, up to $10,000—and up to $30,000 per calendar year).
- Provides a tax credit to help businesses offset the cost of personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing expenses, additional cleaning processes and materials and more. The credit is retroactive, covering any eligible expense incurred between March 12, 2020 and Jan. 1, 2021.
- More on the bill’s tax provisions here.
- Supports improvements in testing and reporting practices, as well as boosting our national contact tracing abilities.
- More on the bill’s testing and vaccine provisions here.
- Provides additional flexibility for the $150 billion in state funds provided through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), including extending the deadline to use CRF funds by a year to Dec. 2021. Please note this fund can be used to support efforts related directly to the pandemic, including marketing and business support campaigns and grants to others in the community to implement.
- Provides $10 billion in additional relief for U.S. airports.
Not making it into this version of the legislation are the following. We will be asking you to urge Congressional delegates to include these in their final version.
- While airport relief was included, other transportation types (such as ferryboats and motorcoach companies) were excluded. Senate Bill S. 4150 Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act of 2020. This bipartisan legislation would provide $10 billion in emergency economic relief funding, in the form of grants (no less than 50 percent of total funding) and other economic assistance, through the U.S. Department of the Treasury, to motorcoach operators, school bus companies, U.S. flag passenger vessel operators, and other U.S. transportation service providers designated by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation.
- Sustaining Tourism Enterprises During the COVID-19 Pandemic (STEP) Act (S.4299), which authorizes $10 billion in Economic Development Administration (EDA) grants for tourism promotion and recovery in response to COVID-19. Funds provided through the program could be used to cover lost revenue and fund tourism marketing, promotion of safe travel practices (like wearing masks) and sanitation and cleaning services.
- A temporary travel tax credit to stimulate travel by individuals; and
- A meetings and events tax credit to restore activity in the business meetings and events sector.
CONSUMERS OPEN TO TRAVEL INSPIRATION, MASK-WEARING SENTIMENT AMONG TRAVELERS INCREASES, STRESS LEVELS MAY BE IMPACTING TRAVEL DESIRE
Destination Analysts released its weekly report today summarizing its research of 1,200 American travelers. Here are some highlights:
- A few important travel metrics positively increased this week: excitement for near-term travel, openness to travel inspiration, and the number who say they will take a trip in 2020.
- 18.2% of American travelers anticipate their next road will be in August.
- The profile of those that recently traveled by air skews younger, urban dwellers that typically traveled for business and conventions in the pre-pandemic period.
- Those that have recently traveled by air largely rate their experience with the health and safety protocols implemented by their airline and the airports as satisfactory.
- More Americans are now agreeing with pandemic etiquette and say they will practice it when traveling, including wearing a face mask - 81% of American travelers agreed people should wear face masks in public, up from 78% last week.
- Nevertheless, the marked stress Americans are feeling during the pandemic remains a parasite on travel morale.
- Overall, half of American travelers agree they have lost their taste for travel for the time being—a feeling more pronounced in Baby Boomers and those in the West and Northeast.
Other Tourism News
GOVERNOR APPOINTS WHITE CASTLE MARKETING EXEC TO TOURISMOHIO ADVISORY BOARD
Lynn M. Blashford, chief marketing officer at White Castle, has been appointed to the TourismOhio Advisory Board for a term beginning July 27, 2020, and ending Sept. 27, 2022.