Gov. Hochul

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a $450 million Bring Back Tourism, Bring Back Jobs inclusive recovery package to support New York state’s tourism sector workers and revitalize tourism.

NEW YORK (TNS) — Some workers in New York’s tourism and hospitality industries will get over $2,700 in payments under a new program announced Monday by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The payments are part of a bigger package of funding meant to help the state’s tourism industry recover. Hochul announced plans to spend $250 million in state funding on the effort and push for legislation that would spend $200 million more.

Hochul announced the new funding on the same day the U.S. ended its pandemic ban on international travelers, allowing overseas visitors to return to the country. Hochul said New York is ready to welcome those visitors back, but many tourism-related business are still struggling.

“The only way we’re going to say that New York is truly back is when the tourism industry is back as well,” Hochul said. “I believe they are interconnected.”

The payments to workers will come from a $100 million worker recovery fund. It will funnel direct payments to as many as 36,000 workers in tourism and hospitality, according Hochul’s office.

Workers are eligible if they were on extended federal unemployment insurance the last week before those benefits ended and if they have yet to see their earnings fully recover.

The state Labor Department will issue one-time payments of $2,750 to eligible workers. Eligible workers will be contacted via text or email.

Hochul also announced a $100 million return to work grant program designed to encourage tourism businesses to rehire workers. Businesses will be eligible for grants of up to $5,000 per net new full-time employee or $2,500 per net new part-time employees.

Information on the grant program is available online at https://esd.ny.gov/tourism-return-work-grant-program.

The state will direct $25 million to a grant program aimed at generating business-focused travel. It will offer grants to help convention centers and conference spaces bring more events to New York.

The program will let venues and partner hotels offer meeting organizers discounts on booking fees or room blocks to attract business, with the grants reimbursing a portion of the discounts. Information is available online at https://esd.ny.gov/meet-new-york-grant-program.

The state will also launch a $25 million I Love NY global marketing campaign to lure new domestic and international visitors.

Hochul said she plans to push in January for new legislation that would establish a $200 million program for businesses started just prior to the Covid-19 pandemic or during it.

The initiative would use existing funding in the state’s $800 million pandemic small business recovery grant program, which provides grants to small businesses across the state. The new program will be aimed at businesses that were previously not eligible for pandemic relief through earlier state and federal programs.

“New York will not come back until everyone is back in their jobs,” Hochul said. “We bring back tourism, we bring back jobs.”

Two bills signed into law Monday by the governor will help reduce the number of robocalls to New Yorkers.

The first bill requires telecommunications companies to proactively block calls from certain numbers. That includes calls that are likely to be illegitimate, such as those coming from numbers that cannot or do not making outgoing calls.

Those numbers are often used in “spoofing” schemes in which the true identity of a caller is masked behind a fake number, according to Hochul’s office.

A previous federal rule allowed companies to block such calls. The bill adopts the provisions of the rule into New York law.

The other bill requires voice services providers to implement a new type of call authentication system known as STIR/SHAKEN, which uses cryptography to validate that a call is really coming from the number displayed. The system is meant to prevent spoofing.

The system also makes it easier to trace illegal calls back to their sources.

A federal rule requires companies to adopt the new system, but the state bill will add more state enforcement for bad actors and ensure implementation of the system as required.

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