Las Vegas, Nev. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) hosted a roundtable discussion with travel and tourism business leaders to discuss the challenges Nevada’s hospitality industries have faced during the coronavirus pandemic. She also underscored the need for comprehensive relief and recovery measures for the convention, trade show, entertainment, travel and hospitality industries and their workers, as well as the need to assist hard-hit small businesses with additional support.
“While the hospitality and tourism industries are still the lifeblood of Nevada’s economy, they’ve been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Nevada wouldn’t be Nevada without our world-renowned resorts, award-winning live entertainment and conventions, and unique travel destinations. I’ll continue to uplift the voices of our travel and tourism businesses in Congress to ensure we pass legislation that will truly help put these industries on the path to a robust recovery.”
“Travel and tourism are Nevada’s No. 1 industry, supporting more than 433,000 jobs statewide, generating nearly 35 percent of the state’s general fund revenue, and responsible for more than $73 million in economic activity each year,” said Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association. “The ongoing pandemic continues to have a devastating economic impact reaching every corner of our state – from the business community and its employees to the state and local governments and the residents they serve – given the billions of dollars in lost economic activity due to the mass cancellations of conventions, trade shows and events and business and leisure travel. While Nevada’s resort industry continues to focus on restoring our state’s tourism-based economy, sustaining jobs and bringing more people back to work as soon as possible, the road to full recovery will take time. As Congress considers various ways to help those states and industries struggling the most, we appreciate the opportunity to share the latest insight with Senator Cortez Masto on how COVID-19 continues to batter Nevada’s largest industry, its workforce and the businesses that depend on it.”
One of Senator Cortez Masto’s top priorities is ensuring Nevada’s hospitality, travel and tourism sectors have the resources and support they need as our economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Recently, her bipartisan amendment with Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) to support the hospitality, travel, tourism, and entertainment industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic was passed as part of the Senate’s budget resolution, which marks an important step towards passing COVID-19 stimulus legislation. The amendment will ensure the Senate prioritizes support for the hospitality industry as Congress crafts legislation to provide coronavirus relief to communities across the U.S.
Last Congress Senator Cortez Masto led the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act, which would stimulate the economy by creating new recovery incentives for hospitality and trade shows, enhance the employee retention tax credit to help maintain worker connections to their employer, and provide recovery incentives for middle class families to jumpstart travel when safe. She plans to re-introduce similar legislation soon.
She also recently partnered with Senator Durbin in introducing the Worker Health Care Coverage Protection Act, a bill that would protect millions of unemployed or furloughed workers from losing their health insurance by enabling them to access subsidized COBRA coverage. Senator Cortez Masto has also introduced the Sustaining Tourism Enterprises During the COVID–19 Pandemic (STEP) Act, bipartisan legislation to provide economic support for organizations involved in promoting and hosting tourism, travel, or other special events. In addition, she is a cosponsor of the RESTAURANTS Act to establish a temporary Restaurant Revitalization Fund in the Department of Treasury to make grants available for eligible food and beverage purveyors to cover specified costs. Senator Cortez Masto was also a cosponsor of legislation to provide direct relief to live event venues, which was signed into law last year as part of the most recent COVID-19 relief measure.