ASTA Backs New COVID Relief Package, But Says Needs Will Remain

Man signing law
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The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has announced it supports the Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020, which includes several provisions that it has been advocating for like the ability for hard-hit companies to apply for an additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan; tax deductibility of PPP loan proceeds; and an extension of the CARES Act’s unemployment programs for independent contractors and furloughed agency employees through March 2021.

“The bill sponsors designed this package as a three-month bill and recognize that more support for hard-hit businesses will be needed next year, a sentiment we welcome given the catastrophic impact of COVID-19 on our part of the travel industry and the long-anticipated recovery timeline,” said Zane Kerby, president and CEO of ASTA in a statement. “While we support this bipartisan bill as meaningful progress, we believe that next year a more comprehensive package targeted at the travel industry and others like it hit hardest by COVID will be needed beyond this temporary bridge to March 2021.”

According to a member survey conducted by ASTA in late in the summer, close to 95 percent of travel agencies’ revenue is down at least three-quarters year-over-year; 63 percent have laid off at least half of their pre-COVID W-2 employees; and 73 percent said they would be out of business within six months unless Congress provides additional, meaningful relief.   

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Kerby added: “We call on Congress—the leadership of both parties in particular—to work out their differences on COVID relief and send a bill based on the Bipartisan COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020 to President [Donald] Trump's desk as soon as possible.”

ASTA has created a grassroots portal to contact your representative, showing support for new COVID relief. Visit www.asta.org.

This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.

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