Every business in the country has been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another. But few sectors have been as hard hit, or face a longer road to recovery, than the travel agency industry.
According to the American Society of Travel Advisors, with business at a practical standstill and no end to the pandemic in sight, 64% of travel agencies in the U.S. have laid off at least half of their staffs, even with the federal relief programs provided by the CARES Act in March.
What’s more, over 70% will go out of business within the next six months without additional federal relief.
Without that relief, the travel agency sector is looking at an extinction-level event. This would deprive the public of the critical services that travel advisers provide and leave the distribution channels of travel suppliers (airlines, hotels, cruise lines, etc.) crippled.
So what was Congress’ response to this devastation and others? After negotiations over the next relief bill stalled, they adjourned for the annual August recess and are not scheduled to return until mid-September.
My message to elected officials on behalf of the 140,000 people who work in our industry is simple: Get back to work and support the small businesses that desperately need help. Doing nothing isn’t an option. The future of our country depends on it.
Bless her heart
“That is a lie,” Nikki Haley said Wednesday as she addressed the Republican National Convention, claiming America does not have a problem with racism.
Within a few sentences, referring to her own family’s experiences, she said, “We faced discrimination and hardship … my parents never gave in to grievance and hate,” referring to her Indian parents’ struggles to succeed as immigrants.
And just a few moments later, she recounted the horrific racist killings at Emanuel AME Church.
I admired Haley as governor of South Carolina, but it appears she has quickly transformed herself into another politician willing to spin the facts for political gain.
Masks protect others
When I read The Post and Courier, I know there will be folks complaining about having to wear masks and their personal freedoms being taken away.
Aug. 25 was no different, except the letter writer who complained that mask rules go too far seemed especially aggrieved.
The letter states that “[c]ommon sense has gone out the window” with the mandated mask wearing. Common sense seems to be a rare commodity in that people continue to complain about the mask mandate, even though it reduces the transmission of COVID-19.
I must conclude that too many Americans have always been self-centered and cruel.
For a better perspective, see a letter, also published Aug. 25, “Take care of workers,” citing the disparity in wages of sanitation workers in North Charleston versus Charleston. The letter writer’s thoughtfulness gives me hope.
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Alter Highway 41 plan
I want to add my voice to the growing crowd of people who see tremendous injustice in the decision to widen S.C. Highway 41 by plowing through the Phillips community.
This is unacceptable. The traffic is a result of the development of Park West, Rivertowne and Dunes West, among others.
There are more acceptable and fairer ways to mitigate the traffic problems.
I expect my beloved Mount Pleasant to be more compassionate in its decision-making, especially when the town has such an impact on the historic Phillips community.
We’ve made such efforts to create places along U.S. Highway 17 and at Waterfront Park for basket-makers to sell their wares.
Tremendous effort and expense is being expended to build what will undoubtably be a significant African American museum.
We have an opportunity to preserve not only a historic but a living African American community in Mount Pleasant.
Why can’t we do that? We must.
SALLY LANGSTON WARREN
Website has voting info
The Aug. 26 writer of the letter, “Research your vote,” must be unaware of the League of Women Voters’ VOTE411 website.
On that site, a voter can see a personalized ballot.
For the Nov. 3 election, the candidates are on the site now and have been since the primaries.
The candidates for the nonpartisan races will be on the site soon.
In addition to the candidates’ personal information, the League has posed questions that will let the voter determine the candidates’ stances on pertinent issues.
Sea Cotton Circle