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Data: AHLA; Chart: Axios Visuals

Congress will return from its late summer recess soon and the hotel industry is pushing for new economic relief, warning that six months into the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. it "remains on the brink of collapse."

What it means: A new report from the American Hotel and Lodging Association finds that heading into Labor Day weekend, which would normally be a boom time for the industry, 14% of hotels are booked, compared to 41% in 2019, and overall demand remains well below normal levels.

  • 33% of Americans say they have traveled overnight for leisure or vacation since March, and only 38% say they are likely to do so by the end of the year. 
  • 16% of Americans plan to travel for Labor Day, 25% for Thanksgiving and 29% for Christmas.
  • Four out of 10 hotel employees have not returned to work.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of hotels remain half full or less — the threshold at which most hotels can break even and pay debt.

Where it stands: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday urged Congress to pass another relief bill during a hearing before a congressional panel, saying he would call House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to negotiate.

What they're saying: "Our industry is in crisis. Thousands of hotels are in jeopardy of closing forever, and that will have a ripple effect throughout our communities for years to come,” Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA, said in a statement.

  • "We are incredibly worried about the fall and what the drop in demand will mean for the industry and the millions of employees we have been unable to bring back."
  • "We need urgent, bipartisan action from Congress now."

Go deeper

Oct 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate to vote on GOP stimulus measures next week

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate will hold two votes next week on a Payroll Protection Program bill and $500 billion coronavirus relief package, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Saturday.

Why it matters: Hopes for a broader stimulus deal before November's election are fading as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary remain deadlocked in negotiations on a potential package that McConnell has said his caucus has no appetite for.

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Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of COVID-19 cases

Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Photo: THIERRY ROGE/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

Belgium is enforcing a strict lockdown starting Sunday amid rising coronavirus infections, hospital admissions and a surge of deaths, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced on Friday.

Why it matters: De Croo said the government saw no choice but to lock down "to ensure that our health care system does not collapse." Scientists and health officials said deaths have doubled every six days, per the Guardian.

36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Reid Hoffman launches $1M ad urging election patience

Screengrab of ad

Billionaire and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, one of Democrats' biggest donors, tells Axios he's launching a $1 million digital ad campaign in battleground states urging voters to be patient with election results and prepare for no winner to be known on Nov. 3, no matter what "some people" may prematurely declare via Twitter.

Driving the news: The three-minute ad, titled "We Count! A Patriotic Musical Extravaganza," features the voice of "The Big Bang Theory's" Jim Parsons and Broadway star Barrett Doss. The spot will appear on Facebook targeting voters in the swing states of Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.