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Congressman Charlie Crist Files Legislation With Goal Of Helping Hospitality Industry

U.S. Rep Charlie Crist, D-Fla., places a rose in a vase in honor of black men killed by police officers during a Juneteenth 2020 celebration outside the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum Friday, June 19, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and ensure all enslaved people be freed. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara
/
AP
U.S. Rep Charlie Crist, D-Fla., places a rose in a vase in honor of black men killed by police officers during a Juneteenth 2020 celebration outside the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum Friday, June 19, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and ensure all enslaved people be freed. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Congressman Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) is backing a Democratic proposal that would provide relief to the hospitality industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the industry has lost more than 3 million jobs since the start of the pandemic.

“The tourist industry is indispensable to Florida’s economy; we have to have it we need to have it. It’s critically important," said Crist. "It’s also tied to our environment frankly, I mean one of the reasons why I’ve been such a strong environmental proponent protecting our beaches, protecting our shoreline, people come to Florida because she’s beautiful."

Labor union UNITE HERE represents more than 300 thousand employees mostly in the hospitality industry. The group’s President D. Taylor says while some people have started to travel again, the industry is still 70 percent under-employed when compared to pre-pandemic numbers.

“If you look at hotels particularly in urban areas, they rely so much on business and convention travelers, and as Chip said that is not coming back anytime soon," said Taylor.

The bill would provide payroll grants and tax credits for purchasing personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing, and purchasing of technology designed to reduce the impact of the pandemic. Hotels that receive the grant will have to allow employees let go during the pandemic recall rights.