Updates 11/13: Ohio's Travel Industry and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF GRANTS STILL AVAILABLE IN 13 COUNTIES
There are some Ohio counties where there are still Small Business Relief Grant of $10,000 available. To be eligible for funding, small for-profit businesses must have at least one, but no more than 25 Ohio employees, paid via W2 wages as of Jan. 1, 2020. Funds have been set aside for 50 businesses in each of Ohio’s 88 counties, and businesses have until Nov. 23 to apply. After that, remaining funds for that county will be shifted to the larger pool of money to be distributed throughout the state.
Learn more, and apply here.
The following counties have grants available as of last night: Wyandot, Carroll, Morgan, Brown, Morrow, Monroe, Fayette, Noble, Adams, Hardin, Preble, Harrison and Vinton.
ONLY A THIRD OF ON-PREMISE LIQUOR LICENSE HOLDERS HAVE APPLIED FOR RELIEF
As of yesterday, the Governor said only about a third of on-premise liquor license holders have taken advantage of the Ohio Bars and Restaurants $2,500 relief payment. Remember, this payment is not reserved just for bars and restaurants. Hotels, meeting venues, attractions and others who have on-premise liquor licenses are eligible. Learn more here.
NONPROFIT RELIEF GUIDELINES ARE STILL NOT AVAILABLE
On Oct. 23, the Governor announced a relief program for 501(c)3 organizations. This program is to be administered by Ohio Job and Family Services, but no guidelines are available as of this morning. The Ohio Travel Association continues to reach out to the state for updates.
ARTS AND CULTURE RELIEF 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. This initial process does not appear to be a long one, so please complete their worksheet.
EXPANSION OF PPP AND OTHER FEDERAL RELIEF TO BE PURSUED DURING LAME DUCK CONGRESSIONAL SESSION
Through the COVID RELIEF NOW Coalition, the Ohio Travel Association continues to work with U.S. Travel to push Congressional action on new relief. The top priorities are expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to destination marketing organizations, the extension of the PPP to the end of 2021 and a second draw on PPP for the hardest-hit businesses. More relief is needed for businesses of all sizes due to government shutdowns, government-imposed capacity limits and the impact of the coronavirus on demand. Your activation has never been more important. When we reach out to you in the next few days, it is not only important that you take action immediately. It’s also vital that you share the information with your partners, vendors and networks.
Economic Impact to Ohio
OHIO TOURISM INDUSTRY LOSSES CONTINUE TO CLIMB, APPROACHES $12 BILLION
Based on Tourism Economics weekly tracking of traveler spending, Ohio has lost $11.7 billion in traveler spending since March. This is 43% less spending compared to last year. Ohio lost $251 million the week ending Nov. 7, which is 9% worse than the losses endured the week ending Oct. 31.
As of Nov. 7, this loss in business has resulted in a loss of $737 million in federal tax receipts, $344 million in lost state tax receipts and $203 million less for local governments.
New Public Health Orders
NEW PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS TO BE ISSUED FOCUSED ON RETAIL MASK COMPLIANCE AND SOCIAL GATHERINGS
Governor Mike DeWine addressed the State of Ohio this week. He emphasized the importance of all businesses complying with mask wearing and social distancing. Faced with rising infection rates, he announced the following new rules for Ohio retail businesses that will be incorporated into a new mask-wearing order.
- Each business will be required to post a face covering requirement sign at every public entrance.
- Each store will be responsible for ensuring customers and employees are wearing masks.
- A new retail compliance unit is being developed to inspect retail stores for compliance. A first violation of the order brings a warning. A second leads to closure of the store for up to 24 hours. The Governor said these units will be visiting retail businesses.
An additional order places new restrictions on social activities, such as weddings and funerals. As the new order has not been released, we do not know specifics, but the following details about the order were mentioned by the governor this week:
- Prohibits open congregate areas
- Requires everyone to be seated and wearing masks (except when eating/drinking)
- Prohibits dancing and games
If the current trend of rising cases continues, he said the state will be forced to close restaurants, bars and fitness centers. He said they will look at this one week from Thursday.
Neither of these public health orders have been released by the State of Ohio at the time of this writing. As they are released, the Ohio Travel Association will provide more information and links to the orders on this page.
MEETING PLANNER RFPS CONTINUE TO DECLINE, HALF NOT PLANNING TO BOOK FUTURE BUSINESS TILL AT LEAST Q2 2021
Key findings from iMeet findings released Nov. 8:
- For the second week in a row, the percentage of planners with a request for proposal in progress declined to 43%, down from 45%, while the percent of planners with at least one future face-to-face meeting booked or contracted held steady at 70%.
- 74% of meeting planners anticipate resuming face-to-face meetings in 2021, with half not planning on meeting until Q2 (25%) or Q3 (26%).
- Uncertainty about when to resume face-to-face events increased to 18% this week – up from 16%.
CULTURAL EXPERIENCES OF ALL KINDS ARE TRUSTED SOURCES OF INFORMATION AND MUST CONTINUE TO EMBRACE DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT TO ENTICE VISITORS AND DELIVER ON THEIR MISSIONS
Key museum and attraction updates from Colleendilen.com:
- Digital engagement remains a superpower your business must develop.
- One of the fastest-growing competitors for cultural experiences of all kinds was the couch and remote control prior to the pandemic. It’s accelerated in 2020 with 42% increase among US and 56% increase among those most likely to visit a cultural attraction.
- People in the U.S. are spending nearly eight hours each day online, up from 6.45 hours pre-pandemic.
- Those likely to visit cultural attractions actually spend more time online than the average American, but they also spend less time watching TV.
- Aquariums, art museums, history museums science centers, and children’s museums are increasingly perceived as credible sources of information – more credible than state and federal governments and daily newspapers.
MASKS PREFERRED IN TRAVEL ADS, LIVE ENTERTAINMENT AND EVENTS SAFETY PROTOCOLS MOST IMPORTANT TO TRAVELERS, HOW VACCINE WILL IMPACT TRAVEL SAFETY PERCEPTIONS
Key findings from Destination Analysts fielded Nov. 6-8:
- Nearly 6 out of 10 Americans have returned to a readiness state of mind around travel.
- Intent to travel in the next three months, however remains low due to increases in COVID-19 cases: 60% said they are less likely to travel in the next three months and 42% report that they have cancelled or postponed an upcoming leisure trip because of the worsening of the pandemic in the U.S.
- A pandemic-high 36.5% of American travelers say they would be happy—or very happy—to see an ad promoting tourism to the place where they live.
- The desire to see people wearing masks in all travel ads has remained strong (49%), versus 15% who prefer nobody in the ad wearing a mask.
- Nevertheless, eight months into the pandemic, Americans do exhibit signs of adapting towards regaining normalcy, needing fewer circumstances to feel comfortable returning to their pre-COVID lifestyle, such as pace of new infections and a sound plan from government to manage the pandemic.
- If a COVID-19 vaccine was required before traveling, nearly 60% of American travelers said this would make air travel feel safer and nearly 50% said they this would make cruise travel feel safer. In addition, 36.7% of American travelers say the availability of an official document confirming COVID-19 inoculation would make them more—or much more—likely to travel in the next 12 months.
- When asked about the COVID-related protocols they feel are absolutely necessary to feel comfortable attending special events and festivals, desires are similar to retail businesses, and include the following:
- 49% Required face masks for staff
- 49% Required face masks for all attendees
- 45% Frequent cleaning and disinfection of surfaces
- 45% Limited number of attendees allowed
- 43% Strictly enforced social distancing
- 38% COVID-19 testing for event staff
- 37% Temperature checks when entering the event
- 30% Contactless ticketing/entrance
- 26% Plastic barriers at purchase points
TRAVEL SENTIMENT DECREASES EVEN THOUGH COMFORT LEVEL ABOUT FEELING SAFE TRAVELING OUTSIDE THEIR COMMUNITIES SHOWS SOME IMPROVEMENT
Key findings from a Longwoods International survey fielded Nov. 4:
- The record surge in new COVID-19 cases combined with federal (and some state and local) health official guidance advising against holiday gatherings and travel is having a significant impact on Travel Sentiment.
- 58% of American travelers have indicated they have travel plans in the next six months. This is the lowest it has ever been in this tracking sentiment study since we began it in March.
- 53% of respondents indicated they are not planning to take a trip this holiday season. This is 5-points higher than Wave 22 (48%), which was fielded on October 7th.
- 34% of American travelers say they do not intend to travel until there is a COVID-19 vaccine. (Holding fairly steady from Wave 23.)
- One silver lining is that the percent of American travelers who feel safe traveling outside their community (46%) as well those feeling safe dining and shopping locally (47%) is holding steady for the moment despite the news of surging cases and travel advisories.