COVID-19 Resources For Industry Partners
A Message From Governor Greg Abbott
"The state of Texas is strong; our people, resilient. As we saw during Hurricane Harvey, when neighbors help neighbors, our resilience is redoubled. And I have no doubt that Texans will continue to work together in that same spirit over the coming days and weeks."
- Governor Greg Abbott
Strategic Plan to Open Texas
Governor Greg Abbott announced the second phase of the State of Texas' ongoing plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase II, restaurants may increase their occupancy to 50% and additional services and activities that remained closed under Phase I may open with restricted occupancy levels and minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
The full list of services that may open under Phase ll and additional details can be found here: https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-announces-phase-two-to-open-texas
The Governor's announcement is accompanied by Texans Helping Texans: The Governor's Report to Open Texas. This detailed report helps Texans understand phase one by outlining the new protocols, guidance, and recommendations.
Additional updates relating to the strategic opening of Texas are available here.
Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order (GA-24) terminating air travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor's new order immediately terminates all restrictions contained in the Governor's previous Executive Order (GA-20) that mandated temporary quarantines for air travelers arriving from the following areas of the United States: California; Connecticut; New York; New Jersey; Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; or Miami, Florida.
View the Governor's Executive Order (GA-24) relating to the termination of air travel restrictions as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster.
The Governor's Small Business Webinar Series
The Governor’s Small Business Webinar Series providse small business owners and entrepreneurs with timely, relevant, actionable information on COVID-19 recovery resources. Businesses also get the chance to connect with local experts and support systems. More information is available here.
$50 Million in Loans For Texas Small Businesses
Governor Greg Abbott announced that Goldman Sachs and the LiftFund, along with other community development financial institutions (CDFIs), are partnering to provide $50 million in loans to small businesses in Texas that have been affected by COVID-19 as part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. These loans, made through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), will primarily be used for payroll so that employees can continue to receive paychecks and small businesses can retain their employees and will be partially or wholly forgiven. See here for more information.
Texas Comfort Food Care Packages
Governor Greg Abbott announced the Comfort Food Care Package (CFCP) program to provide meals for at-risk youth and families in communities across Texas as the state responds to COVID-19. As part of the program, participating restaurants offer CFCPs for patrons to purchase on behalf of families and youth in need. Each care package contains enough food to feed a family of 5 to 6 and will be delivered to recipients’ homes. The program is a partnership between the Governor's Public Safety Office, the Texas network of Family and Youth Success Programs (formerly called Services to At-Risk Youth), Favor Delivery, and the Texas Restaurant Association. See here for more information.
Texas Small Businesses
Governor Abbott announced that the SBA has now granted Texas’ Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) assistance declaration, making loans available statewide to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Next Steps: Small businesses who believe they may be eligible for an SBA EIDL should visit the SBA’s website where they can directly apply for assistance. The online application is the fastest method to receive a decision about loan eligibility.
For additional information on Texas business-related COVID-19 resources, including a list of required documentation for the SBA Loan process, visit gov.texas.gov/business/page/coronavirus.
- Sign up for COVID-19 related updates for Texas businesses
- FAQs Relating to COVID-19 for Texas Businesses and Community Economic Development Partners
Texas Workforce Commission
The Texas Workforce Commission has additional resources for employers regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on their website: twc.texas.gov/news/covid-19-resources-employers
If your employment has been affected by COVID-19, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) encourages you to apply for benefits by utilizing the online claim portal, or by calling the Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday.
TWC may be experiencing increased call volumes and hold times on Tele-Center phone lines. You are encouraged to use the online claim portal, Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS), to handle your claim needs quickly. UBS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may also sign up for electronic correspondence so you can receive TWC communications online as soon as possible.
TWC will investigate why you lost your job and mail a decision explaining whether you are eligible for unemployment benefits. For additional information and resources for job seekers, visit TWC's webpage: twc.texas.gov/news/covid-19-resources-job-seekers
Governor Greg Abbott announced a series of Executive Orders relating to COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation. The four orders serve to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state. These orders are in accordance with federal guidelines issued by the President and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and will aid in the state's efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Read more regarding the executive orders.
The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of any respiratory virus, including COVID‑19:
Wash hands often for 20 seconds and encourage others to do the same.
If no soap and water are available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, knobs, and other places touched often.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Practice social distancing. This includes avoiding crowds and minimizing physical contact.
Additionally, the CDC recommends using simple cloth face coverings in public to help slow the spread of the virus.
Domestic Media Landscape Update From MMGY NJF
MMGY NJF continues to closely monitor the U.S. media landscape and report on shifts during this ever-evolving time of pausing, staying at home and social distancing. Just a few weeks away from Memorial Day weekend and the traditional start to the summer travel season, parts of the nation are beginning to slowly open back up and others begin preparations to do so. Below is our third compilation of feedback collated from personal communication with editors, as well as industry webinars and panels that lend insight to what media are covering and plan to cover this summer.
- Editors across the board predict a newfound demand for domestic travel, especially regional travel and “nearcations” once restrictions are lifted. Publications are looking to highlight wide-open spaces, remote locations and natural surroundings. Travel + Leisure anticipates the return of the “Great American Road Trip.” The New York Post foresees a rise in “isolation retreats,” such as renting a cabin in a scenic area.
- Hotels are stating that cleanliness is the key to reopening when the time comes, but they don’t believe the customer will sacrifice experience for cleanliness. Founders from lifestyle hotel groups such as ACE, Sydell, Virgin and Standard state that safety does not mean sacrifice – while sanitation is where it starts (operational sanitation first, then design sanitation). Consumers want to return back to basics with no frills. They want to return to socializing with others in the simplest form. Return to market is also an opportunity for the industry to adopt more tech, a space where hospitality has historically lagged behind.
- Publications such as The Washington Post and National Geographic are reflecting on how this time could result in finally combatting overtourism. MMGY NJF has received several inquiries around what brands can do to continue managing overtourism following the pandemic. Additionally, editors are increasingly interested in spotlighting secondary cities as urban settings with fewer crowds.
- “Bubble” is the hot term of the moment. Some countries are considering a “tourism bubble” – partnering up to allow international travel between borders – while friends are joining together to form a “social bubble” to limit outside contact. Outlets like Elite Traveler are using this term to share ideas for where “social bubbles” can travel together, from hotel buyouts to luxury home rentals. Similarly, Departures and other luxury outlets have expressed interest in covering opulent getaways for wealthier readers to safely escape restrictions this summer.
- Feel-good stories are more press-worthy than ever. Media are shining a light on brands giving back, especially when it comes to nurses and other essential workers, as well as struggling small businesses. In an effort to jump-start the travel and hospitality industry, MMGY Global partnered with HSMAI to launch the Buy One, Give One program, and this initiative has already garnered widespread media attention. Publications have launched columns – such as Thrillist’s “Love Letters to My City” and The New York Times’ “36 Hours in… Wherever You Are” – to help readers in lockdown reflect on what their great cities have to offer.
- Publications are decreasing print content this summer. Hearst just announced that Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire will each publish just one edition this summer. Vogue will publish a June/July issue, while Vanity Fair will publish a July/August issue. The New York Times temporarily paused printing of its travel content, which will only live online for now; the “Travel” section has been replaced with a new section called “At Home” with games, recipes, lifestyle tips and more. The New York Post furloughed the team that oversees their luxury supplement, Alexa.
Given the uncertainty of large gatherings and what that means for events, meetings and conferences in the near future, we reached out to our media friends covering meetings to glean how we can best be of service to them. Here are the latest MICE trends:
- Venues and destinations “doing good” are in the spotlight. Outlets like Convene and Smart Meetings are looking to cover brands that are stepping up to combat the crisis by helping frontline workers or supporting their communities’ most vulnerable people.
- Editors at Northstar Meetings Group and The Meetings Magazine want to hear from venues, destinations and hotels about crisis management tips, industry forecasting, creative initiatives for staying top of mind with planners, and news related to new and/or rescheduled bookings.
- Crisis communications fatigue is on the rise. A few publishers are trying to pull back from crisis stories, as they think the appetite for nonstop pandemic coverage is waning. Some outlets, such as Corporate Incentives & Travel, are also considering consolidating issues since the industry is essentially on hold. Smart Meetings specifically requested to be kept in the loop with promotions and new hires.
- Evergreen content is still relevant. Editors at Travel Pulse Smart Meetings are still running stories about new venues and renovations, and some are sharing roundup and trivia-style stories without specific calls to action.
Many have experienced significant cuts to their freelance budgets and are relying primarily on staff writers.
*Media responses as of 5.11.20
For the most up-to-date information, please utilize the following resources: