5. Hotel industry seeks $150B in coronavirus relief
Axios' Joann Muller writes: The hotel industry is asking the federal government for $150 billion in emergency aid, mostly to keep employees on the payroll until the pandemic subsides and travelers are ready to hit the road again.
Why it matters: The coronavirus outbreak has already hurt the hotel industry more than the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the Great Recession combined, an industry trade group says. Without immediate help, people at the lower rungs of the economic ladder will suffer the most.
The big picture: Besides $150 billion in aid for hotels — many of which are operated by franchisees or small business owners — the industry is seeking another $100 billion for travel-related businesses like retail shops, attractions and restaurants.
- Passenger and cargo airlines are seeking an additional $58 billion in relief.
What they're saying: Travel industry losses alone will be enough to push the U.S. economy into recession, predicts the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
- A projected $355 billion decline in travel spending — transportation, lodging, retail, attractions and restaurants — will deliver an $809 million hit to the U.S. economy and cost 4.6 million travel-related jobs, says the U.S. Travel Association.
- With occupancy rates below 10%, hotels have already laid off 45% of their staff, with more layoffs expected by the end of the week.
What they're seeking: The $150 billion aid package could include...
- A fund for workforce stabilization that would pay employees more than they'd earn in unemployment benefits, if not their full paychecks.
- Emergency grants to preserve hotel companies' liquidity.
- Streamlined Small Business Administration loan programs to support independent hoteliers and franchisees.
One more: Boeing was the latest industry to seek assistance from the government Tuesday, requesting "a minimum of $60 billion in access to public and private liquidity, including loan guarantees, for the aerospace manufacturing industry."
What to watch: The government could put restrictions on any financial assistance to make sure the money winds up in employees' pockets rather than in CEO bonuses or stock buybacks to benefit shareholders.