TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — There are still serious concerns the travel industry will continue getting hit hard by the pandemic. Hospitality groups are now teaming up with lawmakers to ask Congress to help give relief to hotels.
It's called the Save Hotel Jobs Act. If it gets the green light, this could become a lifeline to hotel workers by providing them assistance until they can rebound from the impacts of this.
"Full recovery to 2019 levels are still not expected until 2023," said American Hotel & Lodging Association President and CEO Chip Rogers.
Rogers said hotel workers need help now if they expect to get through the next couple of years.
"This industry cannot survive with leisure travel alone. Business travel must return as well so that we can create even more jobs," said Rodgers.
The National Bureau of Labor Statistics said 3.1 million jobs were lost during the pandemic and have yet to return.
"The tourist industry is indispensable to Florida's economy. We have to have it," said Representative Charlie Crist. "We need to have it. It's critically important. It's also tied to our environment, frankly."
Representative Charlie Christ is now backing targeted relief for the hotel industry. Under the act, hotels would get direct payroll grants. They would be required to use that money to help make people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic so they can go back to work. Hotels would also get a Personal Protective Equipment Tax Credit to help promote safety on the job.
"Hopefully this legislation and others will bring to bear the appreciation to the hotel industry we have here in the Sunshine State,"said Crist. "How much we appreciate it. How much we need it."
Across the state , Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association says more than 10 thousand businesses have closed during the pandemic.