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ANDn total, 90 hostels temporarily closed in Puerto Rico due to the blow caused by the global drop in travel demand caused by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
This was reported by Carla Campos, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (CTPR), who indicated that Of the total of 15,000 hotel rooms available on the island, 5,880 are out of service. These constitute 39.2% of the total number of rooms endorsed by the CTPR.
Without giving details about how many people have been left without work in the industry due to the pandemic -and the measures taken to contain it-, he said that there are 160 endorsed guesthouses in Puerto Rico, which means that the 90 that closed constitute 56.4% of the total. However, he had previously commented that the coronavirus was going to put about 29,600 jobs in the tourism sector at risk.
“It is estimated that the average occupation is close to 8%”, pointed out the official. The drastic decrease in occupation occurs in the months of March and April, which are part of the high tourism season and coincide with moments that usually attract tourists to the island, such as the “spring break” in the United States and Easter in Puerto Rico.
Campos reported that aid is available for workers and companies whose income is affected by COVID-19. For workers, he mentioned unemployment insurance, the Nutritional Assistance Program (PAN) and the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, a federal law that created paid sick leave of up to two weeks for reasons related to the pandemic.
For companies and entrepreneurs, he highlighted state initiatives such as the incentive of up to $ 1,500 for small businesses managed by the Department of Economic Development and Commerce; the incentive of $ 500 for those who are self-employed, which are requested from the Department of the Treasury; and tax exemptions.
He also mentioned, in written statements, that the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) “includes broader provisions for financial support for travel and tourism businesses and employees,” but did not specify which ones.
Other aid was available, but will no longer be available until further notice as the Federal Small Business Administration (SBA) ran out of funds for its payroll protection and disaster loan programs.