Hotels call on Trump for 'desperately needed' coronavirus relief

Officials argue the Main Street Lending Program funds are sitting idle

Major hotel chains are begging for government aid to avoid collapse during the coronavirus pandemic, which has decimated the travel industry.

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The chief executives overseeing brands including Hilton, Hyatt, Marriot, IHG and Best Western, as well as independently-owned chains, have written a letter urging President Trump to provide the needed funding by utilizing the Main Street Lending Program.

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The initiative was designed to help small and medium-sized companies get through the pandemic by providing up to $600 billion in financing.

The industry, however, says funds from the program continue to be "underutilized" as hard-hit businesses it was intended to support are unable to access it due to overly restrictive terms, according to a copy of the letter obtained by FOX Business.

A Hilton hotel in Richmond, Va. on March 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

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Prior to the pandemic, the industry supported 8.3 million jobs and generated more than $660 billion toward U.S. gross domestic product. Roughly 60% of the hotels within the industry operate as small businesses and nearly 50% are minority-owned, officials say.

As a result of the virus-related economic downturn, three out of every 10 hotel employees are now furloughed or laid off and more than two-thirds of hotels say they will only be able to last at most six more months at current projected revenue and occupancy levels.

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The accommodations sector is now grappling with an unemployment rate of 30% compared with the national average of just under 8%.

"Your engagement is desperately needed to support struggling businesses, stem the impending wave of foreclosures, and save millions of jobs to ensure the health of the entire American economy," the officials wrote to Trump.

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