Senator discussed COVID-19’s impact on Arizona’s tourism industry, coronavirus-relief law, and how to continue fueling Arizona’s economic recovery
SCOTTSDALE – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema hosted a roundtable with Arizona tourism leaders to discuss COVID-19’s impacts on Arizona’s tourism industry, identify ways to expand economic opportunities, and highlight how the recent coronavirus-relief law will help fuel Arizona’s economic recovery.
“As Arizona recovers from the pandemic, we’re identifying long-term solutions with tourism industry leaders to fuel jobs, expand opportunities, and ensure Arizona continues to be a top tourism destination,” said Sinema.
Sinema gathered tourism industry leaders to listen to the specific challenges the industry faces as Arizona recovers from the pandemic, and exchanged ideas on solutions to further expand opportunities for the industry. Participants in Sinema’s roundtable included representatives from El Conquistador, Ritz Dove Mountain, Visit Tucson, Westroc Hospitality, Sanctuary Resort, JW Marriot Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, The Saguaro, Experience Scottsdale, Enchantment Resort, NewGen Worldwide, and the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association.
Sinema also discussed her bipartisan Healthy Workplaces Act—legislation that allows Arizona businesses and nonprofits to receive a quarterly tax credit to offset 50% of COVID costs related to buying PPE, cleaning and sanitization, and for reconfiguring workplaces, such as installing plexiglass.
As part of the tourism industry, restaurants were significantly hard-hit by the pandemic. Sinema successfully secured her bipartisan Restaurant Rescue Plan in the new law, which established $28.6 billion in direct coronavirus-relief for independent restaurants to keep Arizonans employed. Sinema also secured an extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit to help more workers stay connected to the workforce and help more small businesses and nonprofits across the country.
Sinema recently announced that, starting April 30, independent restaurant owners can register for specific grants—established by Sinema’s Restaurant Rescue Plan—to help them recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Restaurants are a driving force in Arizona’s economy. In 2019, Arizona restaurants created 310,600 food service and related jobs and were responsible for 11% of employment in the state. However, across the country restaurants have been uniquely devastated by COVID-19. In April alone, 5.5 million restaurant workers lost their jobs. Without federal relief, another 11 million restaurant workers stand to lose their jobs permanently.