By a vote of 96-0, the U.S. Senate officially approved a $2 billion coronavirus relief package, according to NPR. The stimulus package becomes the largest in American history, as it covers a myriad of programs, including direct payments to Americans, an expansion of unemployment insurance, billions of dollars in aid to struggling businesses and funding for the health care industry.
The House is expected to vote on the bill Friday and President Donald Trump said he would “immediately” sign the bill once it reaches his desk.
U.S. Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow praised the coronavirus relief package, which includes significant priorities championed by the travel industry. Dow, however, cautioned that there is still work to be done to protect the entirety of the 15.8 million American jobs supported by travel.
"No legislative package was ever going to erase 100% of the pain from the economic catastrophe being caused by coronavirus, but this deal gives the travel economy a fighting chance to weather the eye of the storm and prepare to quickly lead the recovery.
"With this bipartisan deal, Washington is providing a vital lifeline to protect millions of travel workers and help businesses of all sizes keep their lights on through the worst of the health crisis," Dow said.
Targeted assistance for travel agencies, advisors and independent contractors include economic stabilization loans; small business interruption loans and paycheck protection programs; unemployment benefits for the self-employed and more.
According to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, there are 69,197 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. with over 1,000 deaths. A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment claims last week, according to NPR, with a large portion coming from the travel, transportation, hotel and restaurant sectors.