AAHOA, the nation’s largest association of hotel owners, reiterated its call for an end to the partial government shutdown and highlighted the effects for small business owners in the hospitality industry. The shutdown, now in its nineteenth day, forced the closure of several government agencies, limited government travel, closed national parks, and forced essential personnel at agencies such as the TSA to work without pay.
“The longer this shutdown drags on, the greater impact it will have on certain sections of the hospitality industry and the broader American economy,” said AAHOA President and CEO Chip Rogers. “Travel expenses for employees at affected agencies cannot be paid during the shutdown which means less revenue for the hospitality sector. Many of our national parks and museums are closed, and hotels surrounding them will see dwindling occupancy rates which impact hoteliers, their employees, and their families. Visitors to our parks spend an average of $20 million per day in neighboring communities, but with the parks closed, that money stays home. Furloughed government workers will likely postpone or cancel leisure travel. Even travel itself will become increasingly frustrating as more unpaid TSA employees and air traffic controllers call in sick.
“This shutdown is impacting business development and job creation. Hoteliers with projects in the pipeline who cannot finalize SBA loans will be stuck in limbo. For small businesses, these loans allow them to get reasonable interest rates, but with the agency shuttered, lenders just won’t complete the transactions. We’re talking about an agency that guarantees about 5,000 loans per month, so there’s going to be a significant backlog when the government reopens which will slow the creation of new businesses. Employers are also struggling with questions about hiring and employment law, for the E-Verify system is offline as a result of the shutdown. Employers risk investing time and money into training unauthorized workers and falling afoul of state employment laws.
“Surely there is an answer to both improve border security and re-open the federal government. The American people expect leaders from both parties to work non-stop to resolve this issue. Simply walking away from the negotiating table is not acceptable. Americans deserve better,” concluded Rogers.