ASTA cheers lawmakers' call for aid

ASTA on Monday applauded the efforts of a group of lawmakers who have sent House and Senate leadership a letter asking for additional relief for small businesses, specifically for those in the travel industry.

The letter, signed by dozens of representatives, encourages Congress to prioritize small businesses as it has in the past with things like the Paycheck Protection Program. It notes that not all small businesses were able to access past programs and that funding has dried up. It requests a targeted relief package for the travel industry, as well as the fitness and live events industries.

“Instead of lifting all boats, we’ve only lifted some, leaving scores of small business owners out in the cold through no fault of their own,” the letter states.

Eben Peck, ASTA’s executive vice president of advocacy, commended the representatives who signed the letter.

“As these legislators recognize, for many small businesses the pandemic is far from over,” he said in a statement. “This is especially true for those in the travel agency sector, uniquely exposed to this global pandemic given their focus on international travel.”

The Society has long been lobbying for more relief for small businesses. Tops on its wish list, Peck said, are the reinstation of the Employee Retention Tax Credit for the fourth quarter and including travel agencies in the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program.

“As we are seeing in real time, each new coronavirus variant brings with it new recovery-crushing travel restrictions,” Peck said. “Congress should be doing more, not less, to support these travel-reliant small businesses.”

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