ORLANDO, Fla. (July 16, 2020) – IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, representing major theme parks, local and destination fixed-site attractions, water parks, family entertainment centers, museums, zoos, aquariums, and manufacturers and suppliers, sent a letter to Congress on behalf of its members. The letter urges Congress to consider key issues facing the industry during the next phase of COVID-19-related legislation.
IAAPA estimates nationally the COVID-19 pandemic will cause $23 billion in economic losses for attractions in 2020. With more than 50% of attractions having to make staffing adjustments and many facilities not reopening in 2020, more than 235,000 jobs have been lost across the USA.
“As our industry looks to reopen, locations are doing so at a substantially reduced capacity and with additional costs due to new COVID-19 safety protocols,” said Hal McEvoy, president and CEO, IAAPA. “This has been devastating for our industry, particularly for seasonal businesses. These businesses rely on making enough revenue during the few short summer months they are open to maintain employment year-round. In addition, year-round businesses that experience peak attendance from spring break through the summer months have been substantially hurt by the pandemic.”
In partnership with member attractions and medical experts, IAAPA has invested significant time and resources in developing reopening guidance to help attractions assess their operations and make appropriate adjustments to enhance their current protocols and ensure continued safe experiences for guests.
“The health and safety of our guests and employees has always been our number-one priority. We are proud of the work our members are doing to develop new protocols and procedures in the wake of COVID-19,” continued McEvoy. “However, this is difficult to do as research and guidance from health and government authorities rapidly changes. It is essential that the businesses that are acting responsibly, and developing safety practices to protect guests and workers, are provided liability protection from COVID-19-related illnesses, and without fear of being penalized.”
IAAPA urges Congress to consider:
- Small Business Administration Loans (PPP) – Enhancements that will provide small parks and attractions with the assistance they need to survive mandated closures and limitations.
- Liability Protection – Provide targeted COVID-19 liability protection for businesses that are following best practices to protect guests and workers against COVID-related illness.
- Tax Credits – Tax incentives to employers to maintain their workforce such as modifications to the Employee Retention Tax Credit and tax incentives to jump start the economy and support the amusement park and attractions industry and other travel and tourism related industries.
- Federal Backstop for Pandemic Risk Insurance – Provide reinsurance for pandemic risk insurance to help businesses and organizations avoid going bankrupt in the wake of future pandemics.
- Animal Care Financial Assistance – Provide $800 million in federal support to help the zoological community cover the critical ongoing animal care costs, including food, medicine and medical supplies, diagnostics, environmental testing, life support, and other costs related to animal care.
- Support for Severely Impacted Businesses – Grants or long-term low interest rate loans should be made available to businesses which can verify that their revenues have been severely impacted due to state or local COVID-related safety requirements requiring them to limit their operating capacity.