Travel Professionals Accepted under the CARES ACT
(Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security)
President Trumps $2 Trillion dollar relief package is making it’s way through the proper channels as it nears the completion process.
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, travel agency employees and independent contractors will be able to apply for relief for their businesses hurt by the sudden stop in travel and in future bookings, because of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The biggest win for agencies comes in the bill’s $25 billion in loans and loan guarantees, segmented for airlines, that includes “ticket agents,” which ASTA says is the statutory term for agencies. Under CARES, agencies will be eligible for some of that $25 billion in relief and ASTA says that, as funds will be allocated by the Treasury Secretary and Secretary of Transportation, it will work with both to “implement this provision.”
Agencies and agency employees, most of which are categorized as small businesses (having under $22 million in annual revenue or fewer than 500 employees), will also be able to take advantage of the $349 billion put toward a new U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program. That loan program, which is offering loans of up to $10 million, will allow businesses to have the portion of the loans that covers the payroll, mortgage, rent or utility expenses from Feb. 15 to June 30 forgiven.
Those who do not apply for the SBA loan program would be eligible for some of the $425 billion of low- or no-interest loans and loan guarantees from the U.S. Treasury Department that have been earmarked in the bill for “U.S. businesses that incurred losses directly or indirectly as a result of coronavirus,” ASTA said.
The bill would also give up to 39 weeks of unemployment insurance for people not otherwise eligible for unemployment compensation, including the self-employed. “Contractors working in the industry, and their business income has seized up along with every other part of the industry, but these self-employed individuals typically do not have access to federal and state unemployment benefits, as laid-off W-2 employees do,” ASTA said.
The news marks a major win for the travel trade and a major win for the businesses hurt by the sudden stop in travel and in new bookings because of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It also marks a victory of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), who had been lobbying on behalf of its members in Washington D.C.
Source: Travel Market Report