WASHINGTON (March 21, 2020) – The following is a statement from Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO, on the progress on the CARES Act now being negotiated in the Senate.

We applaud Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for their leadership during this unprecedented public health crisis and heartened by the progress the Senate is making on the CARES Act.

The swift action they have already taken and current proposals for supporting our economy recognize the devastating impact of COVID-19. Without this action the livelihood of millions of American workers and thousands of small businesses is at risk. 

The hospitality sector has been especially hard hit as the nation’s economy shuts down. We expect that 70 percent of hourly hotel employees are no longer working. Additionally, we expect half of all U.S. hotels will cease operations by the end of March.

Without immediate action, millions of workers will soon find themselves out of a job. The CARES Act is a significant step forward and we support the underlying foundation of the legislation. However, we believe three improvements can be made to better support employees and the small businesses that employ them.

The hotel industry’s singular focus is to support legislation that benefits our impacted employees.  We strongly believe that the focus of any economic stimulus package should achieve three results:  First, provide direct assistance through enhanced unemployment insurance programs to workers who have been furloughed.  Second, allow furloughed employees to keep their employer-sponsored health care. And third, help businesses stay solvent so our furloughed workers have a place of employment to return to once this health crisis subsides.  This can be achieved through the Small Business Administration loan.

The challenge we face is among the toughest our nation has faced. Our elected leaders, and the will of the American people, will help us make it through these difficult times while also building a foundation for a stronger tomorrow. The hospitality industry stands ready and able to do whatever it takes to make this happen.