20:27 PM

The CARES Act: Help is on the way

In many ways, the region’s economy is tied to the runways at Tampa International Airport.

Each and every year, the Airport helps support more than 120,000 travel-related jobs and sends millions of tourists to Tampa Bay hotels, restaurants and beaches while linking countless more business travelers to the area’s thriving industries.

Then came coronavirus.

In relatively short order, airline travel plummeted and airports across the country were confronted with empty terminals and early estimates of total losses in the $14 billion range, according to industry analysis.

But thanks to the passage of the CARES Act on March 27, help is on the way.

The largest single debt relief act in our nation’s history, the act includes $10 billion in overall funding for airports, with $9.4 billion programmed for airports to use for any lawful purpose and support our vital operations. The money will be divided by airport size and other measures, and the exact amount TPA ultimately will receive has not been determined.

Additionally, airlines and cargo carriers will get $58 billion in loans and grants. Of that amount, $29 billion is programmed for loans and loan guarantees for the airlines -- $25 billion for passenger carriers and $4 billion for cargo carriers.

The bill includes another $29 billion in grants to air carriers and cargo air carriers to provide financial assistance for their workers. The bill also includes $3 billion in grants to airline contractors to help ground support and catering workers.

For our other travel-related businesses, including concessions, rental car and other business partners, there is $377 billion in loans and loan forgiveness. Small Business Association loan programs are available for small businesses or franchises with 500 employees or less, including tour operators, meeting and event services, hotels, attractions, restaurants, wineries, and more.

In addition, another $454 billion in federally-backed financial assistance is available to businesses of any size that have been impacted by losses due to COVID-19 in the form of economic stabilization assistance loans. The broad eligibility under this program ensures any impacted organizations can access a liquidity lifeline to keep workers employed and stay afloat through the worst months of this crisis.

For more information on the CARES Act, we encourage you to visit the U.S. Travel Association. For our business partners who are in need of assistance, we have assembled links and additional information to the vital resources that are now available to you. And to all of our visitors, guests and employees, we remind you to stay safe and join us as we work together to weather this storm. We look forward to serving you again soon.