ASTA: Passage of a COVID relief law H.R. 3807 is a win | Travel Research Online

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ASTA: Passage of a COVID relief law H.R. 3807 is a win

United States Capitol building in Washington DC

The House of Representatives recently amended and passed the Relief for Restaurants and Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act of 2022 which, among other things, would help in the revitalization of small businesses with the impact of COVID.

The American Society of Travel Advisors or ASTA, a global advocate for travel agents and advisors, in a statement last week lauded Congress for the passage of H.R. 3807.

If passed by the Senate, the impact would be to offer additional COVID relief to those gravely affected by the pandemic. H.R. 3807 provides funding worth $13 billion as grants to small businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19.

“The travel industry was the first hit by the pandemic and will be one of the last to recover,” commented Eben Peck, ASTA Executive Vice President, Advocacy. “According to recent ASTA member surveys, the average travel agency revenue levels are still down 71 percent compared to 2019. In addition to advocating for dedicated support for travel agencies, ASTA has consistently championed an industry-neutral approach to pandemic relief, where the businesses most severely impacted by COVID receive priority in obtaining financial assistance. This bill does exactly that, and we commend House Small Business Committee Chair Velazquez and Rep. Dean Phillips for their support for this comprehensive approach.”

Under H.R. 3807, small businesses must have a labor force of not more than 200 and a revenue loss of at least 40% from 2020 to 2021 in comparison to 2019. Other entities that could apply for the grant are self-employed individuals and independent contractors which the revenue loss criteria.

The maximum grant for a business, independent contractor, and a self-employed person is $1 million with the revenue loss calculated by diminishing the loss amount by any previous grants received by the applicant via the EIDL program and the Paycheck Protection Program. The law also dictates that those hit hardest by the pandemic are prioritized. If the business or applicant had an 80% or greater loss on revenue, they receive priority.

The Senate has not yet passed its version of a similar bill. Peck stated that “ASTA strongly urges Senators to adopt a similar industry-neutral approach instead of pursuing legislation where winners and losers are cherries picked by Congress across the varying sectors affected by the pandemic.”

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