The attractions industry is known for providing safe, memorable experiences to millions of guests each year. As the world deals with the unprecedented effects of the global coronavirus crisis, the attractions industry is facing an uncertain future.
IAAPA has submitted critical policy requests to the U.S. Congress to help ensure the attractions industry and its more than 700,000 U.S.-based employees are considered. In addition, the attractions industry is an economic engine supporting many related businesses and industries including hotels, airlines, restaurants, construction, and more.
“The CARES Act is an important step in the right direction to help America successfully emerge from this global crisis,” said IAAPA President and CEO Hal McEvoy. “Now, work must be done quickly to ensure critical changes and additional support are earmarked to ensure attractions industry needs are met. Parks and attractions remain closed and thousands of employees are either unemployed or indefinitely furloughed. With the start of the traditional summer season growing closer, these businesses need support now to ensure they can reopen when the time is right and continue to support the economies in the communities in which they are located.”
IAAPA is urging Congress to take additional steps to support of the attractions industry as it works through the next phase of COVID-19 related legislation:
Small Business Administration Loans
Expand the Paycheck Protection Program waiver for 500 employees per company for businesses with the North American Industry Classification System code beginning with 72, to also include businesses with the 71 NAICS code to accommodate amusement parks and attractions which would make eligible for the program parks and attractions that have less than 500 employees at a single location, but more than 500 company-wide.
The definition of “employee” for purposes of eligibility in the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Act should be “full time equivalent.” This would accurately reflect the work force of the attractions industry and other businesses who hire substantial numbers of part-time, seasonal and temporary employees. Counting every single employee, including those working a few shifts or for a holiday weekend, distorts their actual size.
Increase loan forgiveness flexibility in the Paycheck Protection Program for seasonal businesses both in terms of how funds can be used and the timeline for usage.
Emergency Stabilization Fund
Amusement parks and attractions that have been severely impacted need to be included in the Emergency Stabilization Fund. This program needs to be implemented quickly to help businesses in dire need now.
Expedient creation of a fund for mid-sized businesses is a critical resource for the attractions industry. Definition of employee, for purposes of eligibility, needs to exempt seasonal and temporary employees who are hired each season as needed.
Requirements for employee retention should focus on permanent year-around employees to accommodate the attractions industry, and other industries, that have a substantial number of part-time, temporary and seasonal workers who are critical to the industry.
Provide additional relief for businesses like amusement parks and attractions, which may not be able to fully open due to social distancing requirements, once the crisis is over.
Increase funding by $500 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses which is a lifeline for small businesses.
Provide COVID-19 liability protection for businesses that have followed best practices to protect guests and workers against COVID-related illness.
“Congress must move swiftly to make these changes and pass supplement funding,” McEvoy said. “Attractions industry and travel-related businesses play a critical role in the U.S. economy and will be important in helping the country recover from this crisis. Until that time, their health and future lie in the hands of Congress.”
IAAPA, along with travel industry-focused partners including U.S. Travel Association will continue to work with Congress in support of the attractions industry.