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CVB Starts Coloring Page Contest to Alleviate Boredom, Promote Attractions During Pandemic

The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau is conducting a coloring page contest to give people something to do while they’re staying home during the pandemic and to continue promoting local attractions.

To participate, people of all ages can print a picture from this page, color the picture and share it on Facebook at this page or post on Instagram and tag @lovespringfield. Twitter users can post it in the comment section of this post. Submissions also can be emailed to mrussell@springfieldmo.org.

Participants’ names will be entered into the contest and a winner of four passes to Dickerson Park Zoo randomly drawn on March 30. Additional drawings will take place weekly for other prizes.

The CVB is a nonprofit marketing agency dedicated to growing the local economy through growth in travel and tourism.


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Helpful Information for Businesses

Preparing for the Future of Tourism in a Post-COVID-19 World

The coronavirus crisis is having massive impacts on the tourism industry—many of which will reshape the industry’s future landscape. What actions should the stakeholders of this industry be taking today from a marketing and communications perspective? The truth is no one knows for sure; we’re all figuring this out together. However, a business-as-usual approach is almost certainly wrong because there is nothing “usual” about this new life we’re all living and what’s happening to the tourism industry right now.

U.S. Small Business Administration 

The SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters.


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Survey Shows Impact of Pandemic on Destination Marketing Organizations

MMGY Travel Intelligence, in partnership with Destinations International Foundation, has released the inaugural findings from a benchmark series of biweekly surveys of North American destination professionals. The surveys track how this sector has been affected by COVID-19 and what shifts organizations are making during a period of very fluid change.  Preliminary findings reveal that, in the span of about two weeks, the reverberations of the pandemic dramatically changed the sector’s outlook, operations and marketing spending.

Wave II of the survey, conducted last week, found that more than 80% of destination organizations surveyed have reduced or postponed sales and marketing spend, and more than 60%  have asked all employees to work from home. In Wave I of the study, conducted in early March and prior to many of the COVID-19-related travel bans currently in place in North America, less than 20% had reported reducing or postponing marketing spend and a similar amount reported restricting domestic travel for employees. The majority of destination organizations are now reporting a strong expectation that coronavirus will have an extreme impact on their business over the next six months.

“Destination organizations not only serve as representatives for the broader travel industry but as stewards of their communities,” said Jack Johnson, Chief Advocacy Officer for the Destinations International Foundation. “This study allows us to support these organizations by creating a tool that shares up-to-date detail on how their peers are managing through this ever-changing process.”

At present, the effects of COVID-19 are all-encompassing for this sector. The percentage of destinations reporting coronavirus-related postponements and/or cancellations of conferences, meetings or events surged from under 40% in Wave I to almost 100% in Wave II. The number of respondents receiving 20 or more inquiries related to COVID-19 a day rose from 4% in Wave I to 30% in Wave II. These inquiries are primarily related to information about event cancellations and attraction closings, as well as business-related functions such as conferences, conventions and business meetings.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation for our industry, and it’s important for destinations to make decisions based on facts and hard data as they begin to prepare recovery strategies,” said Craig Compagnone, Chief Operating Officer for MMGY Global. “While there is no precedent for this situation, we know that travel has spiked following previous crises, and data will help influence how destinations keep travelers and communities informed until travel restrictions are eased and bookings return.”

The survey also asked destination organizations about their preparedness planning. Data shows that only 30% of respondents stated that their destination organization had a pandemic emergency plan in place prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. While this seems low, it is most likely attributable to these organizations relying on plans from state governments rather than developing their own.

This survey was conducted among employees of destination organizations representing U.S. cities, regions and states. Wave I of the survey was conducted March 4–8, 2020, and Wave II was conducted March 16–22, 2020. This study does not include U.S. consumers. The full report is available online on MMGY Intelligence’s website.


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Assocation Seeking Donations of Health Protection Supplies

The Missouri Hospital Association, in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, is working to increase supplies for the protection of health care workers during hospitals’ response to COVID-19.

Items most needed include:

  • Surgical masks
  • N95 Respirators
  • Protective gowns
  • Face shields
  • Safety glasses
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Thermometer probes
  • Disposable gloves – sterile and non-sterile
  • Nasal swabs
  • Reagents, viral medium

If you can help, please contact Daphney Partridge at dpartridge@mhanet.com.


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Helpful Information for Businesses

How the $2T coronavirus stimulus will affect you and the economy

The Senate reached a deal on a sweeping $2 trillion stimulus package Wednesday that extends an extraordinary lifeline to Americans in virtually every circumstance who have been affected by the coronavirus – workers, the unemployed, the self-employed and contractors.

Foundation Offers Immediate Relief for Hospitality Workers Laid Off Due to Coronavirus Closures

The Above and Beyond Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing and rewarding front-line hospitality workers, has launched a fundraising effort to provide immediate relief to the unemployed.

How to Preserve Revenue When an Event Is Cancelled or Postponed by Coronavirus

Meeting planners share their tips to save customers and revenue on events affected by COVID-19.

 

 

 


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City, County Officials Issue Stay-at-Home Orders

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, it got worse.

Officials have issued “stay-at-home” orders for Greene County and Springfield to help combat the spread of COVID-19. The order is effective beginning at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and will be in effect for 30 days. That means businesses that are not considered essential must close.

During a press briefing today, officials said businesses considered essential include hotels, restaurants offering delivery or carry-out, grocery stores, healthcare facilities, financial services, government functions and others. 

A press release issued by the Greene County Commission listed the following as essential activities:

  • To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets), or close personal acquaintances, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a healthcare professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home.
  • To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or close personal acquaintances, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, groceries and essential household goods and products, such as cleaning and personal care products, and other products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.
  • To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Physical Distancing Requirements as defined herein, such as, by way of example and without limitation, biking, walking, hiking, or running.
  • To perform work providing essential products and services at an Essential Business (as defined in the Order) or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Order, including Minimum Basic Operations, as defined herein, at Non-Essential Business.
  • To care for a family member, close personal acquaintance, or pet in another household.

A copy of the Greene County’s full order and exemptions is available at https://greenecountymo.gov/files/PDF/file.pdf?id=35369.

The City of Springfield’s order is here: https://www.springfieldmo.gov/DocumentCenter/View/48365/COVID-19-Stay-at-Home-Order-Ex-A.


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Report Price Gouging to Missouri Attorney General with Form

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is making it easier to report COVID-19 price gouging with a new form on his website. The form, which can be found at https://ago.mo.gov/civil-division/consumer/price-gouging, allows Missouri consumers to answer price gouging-specific questions, streamlines the form process, and makes it easier for the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team to track consumer complaints. There’s also a banner on the homepage that redirects consumers to that form.
The new form asks specific questions relating to price points, if other sellers were also selling items at this price, where the incident occurred, if a sale took place and more. These questions will aid the Consumer Protection Section in tracking down and investigating complaints. With price gouging, the more information the better, so Missourians are asked to be as descriptive as possible.

Price gouging can still be reported at the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 and on the standard consumer complaint form at ago.mo.gov, but if possible, consumers are urged to use the specific form if reporting price gouging.


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Business Journal Offers Toolkit to Help Businesses Cope with COVID-19

The Springfield Business Journal is providing a toolkit to help businesses cope with the COVID-19 crisis.

The toolkit provides information on a variety of topics including: policies about paid sick leave and telecommuting guidelines, physical and mental health issues during a crisis, the impact on the tourism industry, supply chain disruption and more.

In the coming days, we’ll keep sharing information we hope is helpful to you. If you find helpful information you want to share, please send to swade@springfieldmo.org.

 


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USTA Urges People to Reach Out to Congress TODAY

Message from Tori Emerson Barnes,

Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy

U.S. Travel Association 

Take Action Now

 

As the Senate prepares to take an important vote on the coronavirus relief package today, it is critical that we have as many travel voices as possible communicate with Congress TODAY about the impact this is having on our industry. In particular, it is more important than ever to urge Senate Democrats, Senate leadership and Speaker Pelosi to meet the needs of travel businesses and travel workers as they finalize this package.

 Thank you to those who have already submitted an action alert—please consider resubmitting an alert TODAY that includes the below industry-specific recommendations and ask your colleagues and your network to do the same. Just click the link above to send a message.

 Key provisions to request include:

  • Support for small businesses through the worst months of this economic shutdown.
    • Increasing the maximum loan size: Allow the maximum loan size for SBA interruption loans to be based on four times the cost of payroll, rent and mortgage interest, up to $10 million
    • Increasing loan availability: Increase appropriations for the program to $500B to ensure businesses have access without additional need for legislation
    • Expanding eligibility to include all non-profits: Allow all tax-exempt organizations under Section 501(c) of the tax code to apply for SBA interruption loans under Title I, including 501(c)(6) and 501(c)(7) organizations. Nonprofits in travel and tourism, particularly convention centers and destination marketing organizations that rely on hotel and room taxes, have been particularly hard hit.
  • Ensure the hardest hit travel companies qualify for loans: Lending enabled through Treasury Department should be made with the same terms and conditions as SBA business interruption loans, including no collateral requirements. Businesses suffering from the worst of this economic crisis should have more lenience in collateralization to ensure they are not required to offer up everything that’s left in order to qualify for assistance.

Time is of the essence. Please take immediate action by sending an action alert, as well as sharing on social media and tagging your member of Congress, to communicate to Congress that they must include these provisions to secure financial relief for travel as they finalize the Phase III stimulus package.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.

Best, 

Tori Emerson Barnes 

Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy

U.S. Travel Association 1100 New York Avenue, NW  | Suite 450 | Washington, D.C. 20005

T: 202.697.1300

E: feedback@ustravel.org

 

 


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Help Available for Laid Off Workers

If you had to lay off full- or part-time employees or were laid off yourself due to the pandemic, a number of resources are available to help pay the bills.

Unemployment Benefits

People who lose a job through no fault of their own, are unable to work due to a natural disaster or quit for good cause related to the work or the employer, may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Eligible claimants may receive up to 20 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits through the state. Before applying, check to see if you qualify for unemployment benefitsApplicants must also register at Jobs.mo.gov.

The Employment Transition Team provides businesses and workers experiencing layoffs or closures assistance and services. There is no charge for these programs and services, either to the companies or workers who use them.

You can also find out more with these COVID-19 FAQs for Businesses and Workers.

View this video for information about filing a claim:

Claims Centers

Jefferson City: 573-751-9040
Kansas City: 816-889-3101
St. Louis: 314-340-4950
Springfield: 417-895-6851
Outside Local Calling Area: 800-320-2519
Fax Number: 573-751-9730

Other Resources

A number of food pantries are available in the Springfield area along with other programs to help pay for utilities, rent and more.

 

 


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CVB Starts Coloring Page Contest to Alleviate Boredom, Promote Attractions During Pandemic

The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau is conducting a coloring page contest to give people something to do while they’re staying home during the pandemic and to continue promoting local attractions. To participate, people of all ages can print a picture from this page, color the picture and share it on Facebook at this page […]

Posted in Attractions, COVID-19 | Comments closed

Helpful Information for Businesses

Preparing for the Future of Tourism in a Post-COVID-19 World The coronavirus crisis is having massive impacts on the tourism industry—many of which will reshape the industry’s future landscape. What actions should the stakeholders of this industry be taking today from a marketing and communications perspective? The truth is no one knows for sure; we’re […]

Posted in COVID-19, Helpful Resources | Comments closed

Survey Shows Impact of Pandemic on Destination Marketing Organizations

MMGY Travel Intelligence, in partnership with Destinations International Foundation, has released the inaugural findings from a benchmark series of biweekly surveys of North American destination professionals. The surveys track how this sector has been affected by COVID-19 and what shifts organizations are making during a period of very fluid change.  Preliminary findings reveal that, in […]

Posted in COVID-19 | Comments closed

Assocation Seeking Donations of Health Protection Supplies

The Missouri Hospital Association, in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, is working to increase supplies for the protection of health care workers during hospitals’ response to COVID-19. Items most needed include: Surgical masks N95 Respirators Protective gowns Face shields Safety glasses Hand sanitizer Sanitizing wipes Thermometer probes Disposable gloves – […]

Posted in COVID-19 | Comments closed

Helpful Information for Businesses

How the $2T coronavirus stimulus will affect you and the economy The Senate reached a deal on a sweeping $2 trillion stimulus package Wednesday that extends an extraordinary lifeline to Americans in virtually every circumstance who have been affected by the coronavirus – workers, the unemployed, the self-employed and contractors. Foundation Offers Immediate Relief for […]

Posted in COVID-19, Helpful Resources | Comments closed

City, County Officials Issue Stay-at-Home Orders

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, it got worse. Officials have issued “stay-at-home” orders for Greene County and Springfield to help combat the spread of COVID-19. The order is effective beginning at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and will be in effect for 30 days. That means businesses that are not considered essential must […]

Posted in COVID-19 | Comments closed

Report Price Gouging to Missouri Attorney General with Form

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is making it easier to report COVID-19 price gouging with a new form on his website. The form, which can be found at https://ago.mo.gov/civil-division/consumer/price-gouging, allows Missouri consumers to answer price gouging-specific questions, streamlines the form process, and makes it easier for the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Team to track consumer […]

Posted in COVID-19 | Comments closed

Business Journal Offers Toolkit to Help Businesses Cope with COVID-19

The Springfield Business Journal is providing a toolkit to help businesses cope with the COVID-19 crisis. The toolkit provides information on a variety of topics including: policies about paid sick leave and telecommuting guidelines, physical and mental health issues during a crisis, the impact on the tourism industry, supply chain disruption and more. In the […]

Posted in COVID-19, Helpful Resources | Comments closed

USTA Urges People to Reach Out to Congress TODAY

Message from Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy U.S. Travel Association  Take Action Now   As the Senate prepares to take an important vote on the coronavirus relief package today, it is critical that we have as many travel voices as possible communicate with Congress TODAY about the impact this is […]

Posted in COVID-19 | Comments closed

Help Available for Laid Off Workers

If you had to lay off full- or part-time employees or were laid off yourself due to the pandemic, a number of resources are available to help pay the bills. Unemployment Benefits People who lose a job through no fault of their own, are unable to work due to a natural disaster or quit for […]

Posted in COVID-19, Helpful Resources | Comments closed