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Weekly Newsletter Volume 2 July 3, 2020

Americans to Get Tax Credit for Traveling in their Own Country

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz) is proposing offering tax credits to Americans who spend money on lodging and entertainment as a way to encourage more travel domestically. According to Forbes magazine and Skift, the bill, called the American TRIP Act, would also give funding to destination marketing organizations (DMOs) in order to help them promote the travel and tourism industry around the nation.

Under the bill, up to $4,000 in travel tax credits would be given to individuals and $8,000 to joint filers (plus an additional $500 credit for dependent children), for money they spend on hotels or other travel. The tax credits would be provided for in 2020, 2021, and 2022 filing years. The credit will apply to all travel in the United States or its territories if all travel, expenses, and the final destination are within 50 miles of the principal residence of the filer(s).

“The tourism and hospitality industries were among the hardest-hit sectors across the country and their revival is critical to our economic recovery,” McSally said in a statement. The U.S. Travel Association said it had proposed the idea.

“Travel has been hit harder by the fallout of the pandemic than any other U.S. industry, accounting for more than a third of the total jobs lost,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, U.S. Travel Association’s executive vice president for public affairs and policy. “The only way to get those jobs back is to get people moving around the country again, and the only way to do that is to incentivize travel.”

The bill comes at a time when domestic travel is expected to suffer due to the coronavirus. According to the latest forecast prepared for the U.S. Travel Association by Tourism Economics, domestic travel spending is projected to drop by 40 percent this year (from $972 billion in 2019 to $583 billion in 2020).

The idea of subsidizing travel for citizens to boost the industry is not new to this crisis. Italy, for example, is providing “holiday bonuses” to lower-income families who travel. Other destinations are trying different ways to get tourists to visit.

California, New York Backtrack on Reopening Plans

(Euronews) – California and New York City have reversed an easing of lockdown restrictions after a surge in coronavirus cases ahead of a busy Fourth of July weekend.

Announcing the new plans for California on Wednesday, state governor Gavin Newsom said bars and indoor dining at restaurants would be halted for the next three weeks, while museums, zoos and cinemas would also need to close. This will be in effect across 19 counties, which make up nearly three-quarters of the state’s population, including Los Angeles County.

It comes after California recorded a 50% rise in COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks, with another 43% rise of people being hospitalized with the virus. “The bottom line is the spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning,” Newsom said.

“We’re seeing parts of the state where we are seeing an increase in not only the total number of positive cases, but a significant increase in the total number of people that are getting tested that are testing positive, meaning the positivity rate, not just the total case rate, is beginning to go up to a degree that obviously generates some concern.” Meanwhile, New York City has backtracked on its decision to resume dining indoors at restaurants next week. Announcing the plan, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo said the decision was made due

Meanwhile, New York City has backtracked on its decision to resume dining indoors at restaurants next week.

Announcing the plan, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo said the decision was made due to concerns of a possible rise of infections as seen in other states. The former said: “Honestly, even a week ago, honestly, I was hopeful we could. But the news we have gotten from around the country gets worse and worse all the time.”

Outdoor dining will be permitted to continue, with De Blasio saying more than 6,000 restaurants had applied for permits to seat customers outside. He added: “Outdoor dining unquestionably has been a great hit. And I think the bottom line is that outdoors is working, period. “This is one of the things we’ve learned. Outdoors is where we need to be to the maximum extent possible this summer as we fight back this disease.”

The US is, by far, the hardest-hit country by coronavirus, having recorded more than 2.6 million cases and 127,000 deaths.

Hopes for a restriction-free summer for Americans are also now dampening after a number of states were recently forced to press the brakes on their plans to reopen as infections spiked.

Turks and Caicos to Set Reopen on July 22

Turks and Caicos Islands is preparing to reopen to visitors effective on July 22, 2020 with a specific mandate that they will have to meet, Forbes magazine reports.

In a media announcement released by the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board, international travelers planning to come to this archipelago will be required to be certified by TCI Assured, a quality assurance portal that will become available on the board’s website shortly.

Upon arrival by air, visitors are expected to present their TCI Assured certifications to local authorities, all of whom will be wearing personal protective equipment, before proceeding through immigration where temperature checks will also take place.

According to the new policy, the certification sticker will be provided only after visitors have provided proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test results from an accredited facility at least 72 hours prior to their arrival to the destination, proof of medical insurance, and a completed health screening questionnaire. A 14-day quarantine period will not be required for visitors once they have tested negative for the virus.

Airports, hotels, restaurants, and other public and private services relating to tourism will also follow new operational protocols. These new measures will incorporate health screenings, physical distancing, mandatory use of face coverings in public, recommended use of face coverings on the beach, and social gatherings limited to 25 people or less.