Every part of the events industry is being impacted by restrictions on meetings put in place to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The American Rental Association (ARA) petitioned Capitol Hill last week for $20 billion in financial aid provisions for the equipment and event rental industry as part of the financial relief bill being negotiated in the U.S. Senate.
“ARA has been in communication with Capitol Hill as well as the Administration regarding relief efforts for our industry. This letter is one example of how ARA reaches out to policy makers in support of our members. Right now, there is an overwhelming need for the federal government to aid all businesses–but, especially small businesses–in the equipment and event rental industry,” said John McClelland, ARA vice president of government affairs and chief economist.
Prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the equipment and event industry was projected to exceed $60 billion in revenue in 2020. “The shelter in place directives and social distancing recommendations have caused virtually every planned event to be cancelled. These wide sweeping conditions have shuttered many event rental operations and most companies have laid off all staff as we wait on recovery measures,” said Tony Conant, ARA CEO. “It’s imperative that we take every possible measure to assist members and we’re hopeful to see some relief from our Administration.”
Petition for Relief Update
U.S. Travel Association reported that more than 6,000 travel industry and related organizations sent a joint letter to congressional leadership Friday requesting aggressive and immediate financial relief in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Signers included transportation, hotel, recreation and entertainment, food and beverage, meetings, conferences and business events and destination marketing organizations—businesses that employ 15.8 million people. The U.S. travel industry is predicted to lose 4.6 million of those jobs in the next six weeks because of the virtual shutdown of travel caused by coronavirus.
The letter asked Congress to include two specific measures that could help the events industry in its “Phase III” coronavirus emergency relief package:
- $150 billion in travel employment grants: Through the U.S. Department of Treasury, provide $150 billion in grants to travel-dependent businesses to maintain employment at pre-coronavirus levels.
- Provide greater financial assistance to severely impacted businesses by increasing the aggregate loan amount for severely distressed industries above $150 billion and providing the assistance through unsecured loans and loan guarantees.
A COVID-19 Federal Aid Package for the Events Industry petition started by a group of AV professionals on change.org is now up to almost 350,000 signatures as of Monday and is targeting 500,000.