The continued coronavirus has caused the Trump administration to issue further travel restrictions today.
In a briefing at The White House, President Trump and Vice President Pence – put in charge earlier this week of the U.S. response team to the virus – announced that travel to Iran has been further restricted and advised American citizens to avoid certain areas in Italy and South Korea.
The State Department’s decision regarding Italy and South Korea is the highest level of travel advisory that can be issued. The new restrictions come a day after the first U.S. death due to the coronavirus was reported in Washington state.
“Unfortunately one person passed away overnight. She was a wonderful woman, a medically high-risk patient in her late 50s,” Trump said according to The Hill, although he misidentified the victim as a woman when in fact it was a man. “Additional cases in the United States are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover,” Trump said. “If you’re healthy, you will probably go through a process and you’ll be fine.”
Trump, who has been stung by reports regarding both his alleged inaction until formulating a response team earlier this week, as well as his perception that Democrats are using his late response as a political tool, cautioned the media and other politicians to “not do anything to incite the panic. There is no reason to panic at all. Our country is prepared for any circumstance.”
Trump said he is also considering travel restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We are thinking about the southern border,” Trump said coronavirus.html” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>at the same press conference. “We are looking at that very strongly.”
Comments & Discussion
Travel Industry Lauds Passage of Paycheck Protection Program Reform Bill
The U.S. Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act on Wednesday, sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk for final approval.
The reform bill provides business owners with additional flexibility and more time to utilize loan money and still be forgiven under the PPP established to provide economic relief in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The travel industry has been quick to commend lawmakers. The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) is in full support having advocated for the improvements behind the scenes.
“We commend the Senate for passing the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (H.R. 7010), which would change PPP loan terms—in some cases retroactively—in a number of ways ASTA has advocated for, including five-year loan terms, reducing the requirement that 75 percent of the loan must go to payroll to get forgiveness, allowing forgivable expense over 24 weeks (as opposed to the current eight) and allowing companies to restore headcount without jeopardizing forgiveness by the end of the year (versus the current June 30),” Eben Peck, EVP Advocacy, ASTA, said in a statement.
“While the PPP will remain complex, this bill gives more flexibility to PPP recipients and increases the chances that loans can be fully forgiven,” Peck concluded.
The U.S. Travel Association also wasted no time praising the decision, calling it an “important step.”
“The PPP changes passed by both chambers are another important step in providing relief to small businesses that otherwise will not survive until the economic recovery phase,” added U.S. Travel’s Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “The modification to the portion of funds that can be used for non-payroll expenses is especially crucial to travel-related small businesses, which have comparatively high capital overhead but virtually zero incoming revenue because of the necessary measures in place to stem the spread of the pandemic.”
U.S. Travel still believes that there’s more work to be done to ensure a successful recovery. The organization is encouraging officials to extend PPP eligibility to non-profit and quasi-governmental entities responsible for driving local and regional economic development.
“Like the businesses they serve, the finances of these non-profits have been devastated by the standstill in travel and tourism, and the moment of recovery will be moot unless they can keep their lights on to take advantage of the return in travel demand,” Barnes stated. “We urge leaders to move urgently to enact the next phase of coronavirus response legislation, which is absolutely vital to the future of the travel and tourism industry, and to prioritize expanding eligibility to those most hard hit by this pandemic such as destination marketing organizations.”
Comments & Discussion