Governor Kathy Hochul hailed for post-COVID hotel stimulus dollars

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New York City’s hospitality industry, ravaged by long shutdowns linked to the coronavirus pandemic, is making a comeback and congratulating Gov. Kathy Hochul, industry officials said on Tuesday.

After consulting with the leaders of the New York Hotel Trades Council, which has 40,000 members, Hochul directed much of its $ 450 million tourism stimulus package for New York towards increasing employment in the 300 city ​​hotels – which employed some 50,000 workers before the pandemic.

The plan includes a $ 100 million tourism worker recovery fund, which includes a one-time payment: from $ 2,750 to up to 36,000 hotel workers and other workers in the tourism industry who were eligible for expired unemployment benefits.

An additional $ 100 million is intended to incent hotels and other tourism-dependent businesses that have suffered job and income losses to rehire workers by offering grants of $ 5,000 to subsidize each full-time worker added to the mass salary and $ 2,500 for part-time workers.

To receive the full benefit, employers will need to maintain job increases for 6 months.

The tourism stimulus package includes a $ 100 million tourism workers stimulus fund.
Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

Hospitality industry sources said it was good policy – and policy – for Hochul to support the hard-hit hospitality industry reeling from travel stoppages and restrictions during the pandemic. Hochul is running for reelection next year and faces what is expected to be a tough Democratic senior challenge from state attorney general Letitia James.

Hochul is using a combination of funds from the US federal COVID-19 rescue plan as well as state funds to pay for the plan.

A hotel union insider said Hochul’s support for the industry will not be forgotten.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James
New York State Attorney General Letitia James is expected to lead Kathy Hochul.
AP Photo / Ted Shaffrey, file

“Gov. Hochul has gained tremendous goodwill and support from our union members and leaders. No doubt, ”said the source of the hotel union.

Hotel Trades Council President Rich Maroko said, “The loss of federal benefits has been devastating for thousands of hotel workers. But by working with Governor Hochul on this strategic subsidy program to incentivize rehire those who are still unemployed, we are able to tackle the unemployment crisis our members face. The additional income these workers receive will be critical to keeping them afloat as the tourism industry recovers and rebuilds itself after COVID. “

Vijay Dandapani, President of the Hotel Association of NYC, said, “We think this is a great move by the governor to help a besieged industry that has been badly hit by COVID, the impact of which has been felt by all parts of the hospitality industry: employees (both management and workforce) and employers (owners and operators).

Tom DiNapoli
Tom DiNapoli found that declining tourism was responsible for 59% of the drop in tax revenues in New York City.
New York State Comptroller’s Office

He said Hochul’s plan was more constructive than the city’s “severance pay law” requiring hotels with 100 or more employees to provide workers with severance pay of $ 500 per week for 30 weeks.

In addition, the Hochul plan includes a $ 25 million “Meet in New York” grant program that convention planners partnering with hotels can tap into to offer discounts on booking fees or blocks of rooms to attract. business tourism.

Hospitality industry sources said the help couldn’t come soon enough.

Vijay Dandapani, President and CEO of the Hotel Association of New York City
Vijay Dandapani, President and CEO of the New York Hotel Association, congratulated Governor Kathy Hochul.
Getty Images for Hotel Associati

Last year, international visits statewide fell 86% from 2019 and domestic visits increased by almost 40%.

A report by state comptroller Tom DiNapoli found that the decline in tourism activity accounted for 59% of the city’s $ 2 billion drop in tax revenue.

Hospitality and tourism workers suffered the worst job losses of any industry in New York City, according to the state Department of Labor. The number of jobs in the tourism industry fell by 62%, from 52,400 to 32,700 between September 2019 and July 2021.


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