LEGOLAND Florida Resort Will Reopen to Guests June 1

LEGOLAND Theme Park, LEGOLAND Waterpark and the all-new LEGOLAND Pirate Island Hotel will open with enhanced health and safety protocols in place on June 1.

“As part of Merlin Entertainments, our leaders across the globe have been sharing best practices daily, and we’ve been able to apply what we’ve learned from other successful Merlin attraction reopenings to be confident with our Resort’s reopening plan. In addition, we have also sought guidance from our partners at AdventHealth,” said General Manager of LEGOLAND Florida Resort Rex Jackson. “We’re ready to play, and we look forward to reopening LEGOLAND Florida Resort as a safe and memorable place for families to play again.”

The reopening of LEGOLAND Florida Resort, and its extensive new measures concerning the health of employees and guests, has been approved by the Polk County Commission and Winter Haven Mayor Bradley T. Dantzler and fully complies with Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 2020-123.

It’s highly suggested that guests should plan their visits in advance – including purchasing advance tickets, reviewing new procedures and downloading the resort’s mobile app. Some measures guests should be aware of for visiting the parks include:

—The resort will operate at only 50 percent of its capacity.

—Guests driving to the park should always leave one parking space in between cars.

—Cash will not be accepted on property; guests should pay using only credit or debit cards.

—All employees and guests will be required to partake in noninvasive temperature checks. Should one person in your party have a temperature of 100.4 F or higher, no one in your party will be admitted.

—Complimentary masks will be given and highly encouraged to be worn – to all guests over the age of three.

—Increased cleaning and sanitization processes will take place throughout the day, especially for high-frequency touchpoints (i.e. door handles, ride restraints, service counters).

—Social distancing markers have been placed throughout the park compatible with the resort’s theme.

—Not all attractions will be open including character meet and greets – since they cannot comply with physical distancing measures.

—The resort will see abbreviated park operating hours, with LEGOLAND Theme Park open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and LEGOLAND Waterpark open daily from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Through the park’s mobile app, guests can view locations of the 200+ hand sanitizing stations that have been installed. LEGOLAND Florida is also working on a virtual queue system that will be rolled out to its mobile app in the coming weeks.

Guests can review all new protocols and procedures on LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s website.

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Delta Adds Two New Caribbean Routes

Is this a positive sign that things are starting to open up, however snail-like that might be?

Delta Air Lines is adding two new routes to its Caribbean flight schedule for the month of May, according to the Caribbean Journal.

Delta will be flying from its hub in Atlanta to St. Croix weekly on Saturdays, and will be operating a flight from Atlanta to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands “less than daily.” The airline did not define what ‘less than daily’ means in terms of the number of weekly flights.

“Customer demand, CDC guidelines, and government travel regulations continue to shape Delta’s network schedule,” Delta Air Lines said in a statement.

Delta is cutting back on other routes, however.

Existing service from Atlanta to San Juan, Puerto Rico has gone from daily to “less than daily,” while daily flights have been reduced to weekly Saturday service from New York to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, the newspaper noted.

Delta is also flying from Atlanta to San Jose, Costa Rica and San Pedro Sula, among other Caribbean Basin destinations.

“Delta continues evaluating its scheduled summer service and will adjust as needed,” the company said.

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How the CARE Act Can Provide Relief to Travel Advisors

Last week, Congress passed a massive stimulus bill known as The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In it is relief for struggling travel advisors but, as these bills usually are, the language is dense and hard to decipher—so ASTA has stepped in to outline the benefits.

One of the clearest parts of the bill was the $25 billion in loans and loan guarantees reserved for the airlines and “ticket agents,” but there are many ways in which travel advisors can get financial relief from the bill.

“Most members will access relief through the Small Business Administration program,” ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby told advisors on the webinar.

One of the major benefits of the CARES Act is that it opens access to unemployment benefits to independent contractors and the self-employed.

Workers on 1099 are not usually eligible for unemployment because they don’t pay into state unemployment programs; however, the CARES Act recognizes that this global pandemic has created an unprecedented need for relief. Self-employed people’s incomes have been decimated by this crisis, and now they will be able to have access to these benefits.

“Through the end of the year, ICs who meet the stated criteria can receive benefits through their state unemployment program to essentially the same extent that they would have if they were W2 employees,” said Peter Lobasso, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at ASTA.

The IC only needs to certify that he or she has been adversely impacted by COVID-19 and, but for that, would have been able to be available to work as usual.

“I believe that this requirement will be very loosely interpreted,” said Lobasso.

The amount of the benefit will be determined by each state’s computation system, but it will definitely be based on the IC’s net income for the last tax year. In addition, the IC will be eligible to receive an additional $600 available even if the worker was previously earning less than that.

The benefit will run through the end of the year, and those needing access should contact their state unemployment agency.

New Loans

Companies with more than 500 employees have access to $454 billion in loans and loan guarantees to support eligible U.S. businesses that have not received adequate relief from other available loan programs. This is in addition to the $25 billion that is earmarked for the airlines and travel agencies.

Applicants for these loans must establish that alternative financing is not reasonably available.

The terms are up to five years; interest is at prevailing market rates prior to COVID-19, and there is no loan forgiveness. The Treasury Department will be publishing application procedures and minimum requirements within 10 days of bill enactment.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans

There are special SBA loans for businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Businesses don’t need to have employees to qualify, so independent contractors and self-employed people qualify for these SBA loans.

Loans provide up to $2 million and are designed to provide working capital for regular business expenses such as rent, payroll, utilities, etc.

The interest rate on these loans is 3.75 percent, and the maximum term is 30 years. There is no collateral or personal guarantee needed, and there is a one-year deferment on the first payment.

As of March 13, all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have been declared disaster areas for SBA purposes.

The SBA says that the best way to apply is online, which will be the fastest way to get approval.

Small Business Interruption Loans

This is a new program that loans up to $10 million to U.S. businesses that fall under the SBA size standards ($22 million in annual revenue or with 500 or fewer employees). Independent contractors and the self-employed are also eligible for these loans. These guidelines are less restrictive than they were previously, and these loans no longer require collateral or guaranty.

The portion of these loans that covers payroll, mortgage, rent or utility expenses from February 15 to June 30 may be eligible for loan forgiveness in whole or in part.

There is a less rigorous application process for these loans, and they have fixed low-interest rates and terms of up to 10 years.

Airline Economic Stabilization Loans

There is $25 billion set aside for Airline Economic Stabilization Loans. These are available through the Treasury Department for “ticket agents” and other related aviation industries. The Treasury Secretary and the Secretary of Transportation allocate these funds, and ASTA will work with these departments to implement the provision.

ASTA said that this portion of the relief package is probably going to take the most time to sort through because it is done in consultation with so many outside partners.

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