Few industries have been as hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic than the hospitality business, and now hotel executives are asking President Donald Trump for help.
In a new letter—signed by everyone from leaders at Hyatt, Marriott, Best Western, and Hilton to small, local hotel owners to trade groups—industry representatives request that he direct the U.S. Treasury Department to modify the rules of Main Street Lending Program, which the Federal Reserve created to help small and medium-size businesses that were in good financial shape before the coronavirus pandemic.
“To date, only a small fraction of $600 billion in available loans have been utilized while the remaining funds—which are so desperately needed by industries like ours—sit idle and go unused,” the letter reads.
Eighty-eight people signed the letter, which says the hotel industry supported 8.3 million jobs before the pandemic and contributed $660 billion-plus to the country’s GDP.
It also points out that 60% of hotels are small businesses and close to 50% are minority-owned. Because of the pandemic, 30% of hotel workers have been furloughed or laid off and according to American Hotel & Lodging Association research, more than two-thirds say that if the situation continues as is, they’ll be unable to last more than another six months.
“Mr. President, we believe you have the power to call for immediate modifications to the MSLP to increase participation and help thousands of businesses that have been crippled by the pandemic through no fault of their own,” the letter says.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed chairman Jerome Powell are CCed.