5 things to know: 24 April 2020
5 things to know: 24 April 2020
24 APRIL 2020 9:39 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Trump to sign new $484-billion relief bill
  • Treasury directs public companies to repay PPP loans
  • Hotels realize benefits of housing health care workers
  • Oyo facing regulatory action in US states
  • Legionnaires’ disease a risk for closed buildings

Trump to sign new $484-billion relief bill: The $484-billion relief bill passed by both the House and the Senate is ready for President Donald Trump’s signature, The New York Times reports. The president said he intends to quickly sign the bill that provides additional funding to the CARES Act’s depleted Paycheck Protection Program as well as providing financial support for hospitals and coronavirus testing.

The $484 billion provides $320 billion to the PPP, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for testing, the article states. This is on top of the more than $2-trillion stimulus funding provided by the CARES Act passed in March.

Treasury directs public companies to repay PPP loans: The U.S. Department of the Treasury has directed publicly traded companies that received forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program to pay them back before 7 May, The Wall Street Journal reports. There has been public outcry against large publicly traded companies receiving money intended to help struggling small businesses retain their employees.

The PPP has a cap of $10 million per loan, but several large hotel and restaurant businesses applied through multiple subsidies where each location employed fewer than 500 people, the newspaper reports. On the application form to the U.S. Small Business Administration, companies seeking funds must say the “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary.”

“The intent of this money was not for big, public companies that have access to capital,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at a news briefing Tuesday.

Hotels realize benefits of housing health care workers: Hotel companies that quickly partnered with governments and health care organizations to provide emergency housing amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are in better position for when the recovery starts, reports HNN’s Sean McCracken.

“In March, we were already (negotiating) with the city of Dallas (to house health care workers), while our competitors didn’t want to touch it because of the liability or stigma of being the ‘COVID’ hotel,” said Sloan Dean, president and CEO of Remington Hotels. “We were swift to get into that business because we knew, at least for the next 60 to 90 days, that’d be the only business, and someone needed to be there to help. I think we’ve handled that pretty well.”

Oyo facing regulatory action in U.S. states: Oyo Hotels & Homes set an ambitious plan to grow its footprint in the U.S., but a handful of state governments have or are taking regulatory actions against the company, Forbes reports.

In March, California fined the company $200,000 for offering and operating franchises in the state without state approval, but the company is appealing the fine, according to the article. Oyo reached an agreement with the state of Washington in which it did not deny or admit to the state’s allegations Oyo made offers to more than 30 people without proper registration.

Legionnaires’ disease a risk for closed buildings: Buildings closed during the coronavirus pandemic could become breeding grounds for Legionnaires’ disease, a bacterial infection that can cause deadly form of pneumonia, Reuters reports. Commercial facilities that have been vacated or underused for more than three weeks are potentially at risk unless the water pipes “are properly flushed and otherwise sanitized.”

“It’s a worldwide problem, one that can be solved with precautions,” said British microbiologist Susanne Surman-Lee, who co-drafted reopening guidelines for the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. “Most major corporations with consultants are likely to be aware of the stagnant water systems issue, but this is going to be a challenge for smaller retail-style shops, health clubs and hotels.”

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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