Bryan and Kristen Deptula, owners of an inn in Rehoboth Beach, Del., are busy preparing for a big summer.

Aside from the inflow of guests staying at their Canalside Inn, the couple is experiencing higher demand for their spaces for events, like birthdays, weddings and corporate events. “That’s definitely caused us to need to hire a full-time person” to focus on these bookings, Bryan Deptula said. 

They are hopeful and grateful that the worst days of the pandemic are behind them. “I’m grateful for even having survived COVID, and having been a part of this journey,” he said.

The resurgence in travel has required Deptula — along with other mom-and-pop enterprises and larger hotels — to hire more people. While it’s been a struggle to find reliable candidates, they know it’s all-hands-on-deck to make sure they’re prepared for the Summer 2022 resurgence of “revenge travel.” If they don’t find additional workers? They will do what they need to do.

‘We’re gonna put food in our kids’ mouths, and we’re going to provide jobs for the community.’

— Bryan Deptula

“My wife and I, and our employees will be on our hands and knees scrubbing toilets and sinks and bathtubs and showers, and being grateful that we’ve had the opportunity to do that because we’re gonna put food in our kids’ mouths, and we’re going to provide jobs for the community. And I don’t care that’s the price we have to pay.”

After two years of depressed demand, hotels are brimming with guests once again amid a boom in leisure travel.

Occupancy has bounced back, trending slightly higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to lodging data analytics firm STR. 

Data from CoStar, a commercial real-estate data company, also revealed that hotels in the U.S. sold more rooms over the recent Memorial Day Weekend than in any prior year. 

Even business travel is showing “its first signs of recovery,” the company said, as the travelers they surveyed showed “less negative” signs about their likelihood of traveling overnight for work. 

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Tourists are getting their groove back, and that’s good news for Airbnb hosts and hotels, despite rising inflation, new research shows.

timothy a. clary/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Airbnb hosts bounce back from darkest days of the pandemic

Airbnbs, which are a popular alternative to traditional hotels, are faring even better, and on track to hit new records, according to data from AirDNA, a short-term renal analytics provider.

“Last year was the best year ever for the short-term rental industry,” Jamie Lane, vice president of research at the company, told MarketWatch. “Demand is about 25% higher this year than it was last year.”

In terms of occupancy, as of June 1, the top spots that are hitting their upper limits include North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Downeast Maine, and Pawleys Island in South Carolina, according to

The bombshell leak of a Supreme Court draft ruling overturning the right to abortion will likely reverberate around boardrooms across the nation.

The draft decision would see the half-century-old Roe v. Wade ruling axed, allowing individual states to decide on their own abortion restrictions. When Texas last year banned procedures after the six-week mark, some companies in the state condemned the move, arguing that it would deter top talent, and offered assistance to workers seeking abortions.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, which researches sexual and reproductive health and rights globally, 26 states are “certain or likely” to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned, which will force many people across the country to travel lengthy distances for treatment.

That may put further pressure on companies to find ways for their employees to receive reproductive care services they’ve been entitled to get for half a century.

Here’s how some of the nation’s biggest companies are currently assisting workers:


Amazon on Monday told employees in the U.S. that it would cover up to $4,000 in travel expenses related to medical procedures including abortion services. The policy is retroactive to Jan. 1 for employees and their dependents covered by two company-offered health plans, Reuters reported, and covers services rendered if care is not possible to be offered virtually or available within 100 miles of an employee’s home. Such a distance is typically referred to as an abortion desert; as of 2017, there were 27 cities with populations over 100,000 that qualified for such a title.


The company has said it will cover the cost of abortions and travel for treatment for its retail workers.


The New York-based bank, which is headed by its first female chief executive officer, Jane Fraser, and has some 8,500 employees in Texas alone, pledged to cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions. A source said the costs covered could include airfares and lodging if necessary. Texas GOP leaders, in turn, urged Texans to “avoid entrusting their finances with Citibank and other companies that are hostile to them and their values.”


The web hosting company last year gave the group Texas Right to Life 24 hours to find a new provider, after the anti-abortion rights group set up a website encouraging people to send anonymous tips about alleged violations of the state’s laws. GoDaddy said the group had breached the terms of service.


The jeans-maker said any employee who opts into their health-care plans will be eligible for reimbursement of travel costs for abortions, including part-time workers.

Lyft and Uber

Describing the Texas abortion law as an “attack on women’s access to health care,” Lyft Inc. Chief Executive Officer Logan Green said last week that the ride-hailing company is working with health providers to cover the cost of rides for women in Texas and Oklahoma-which outlawed abortion last month-who seek out of state care. Both Lyft and Uber have also pledged to pay legal fees for any of their drivers sued under

United Airlines says that more than half its employees who weren’t vaccinated last month have gotten their shots since the company announced that vaccines would be required.

The airline’s 67,000 U.S.-based employees face a Sept. 27 deadline for getting vaccinated. United said Wednesday, however, that employees whose bids for exemptions based on medical reasons or religious beliefs are denied will get five more weeks to get vaccinated.

After that, the airline said, they will face termination or unpaid leave.

Kirk Limacher, United’s vice president of human resources, made the statement about vaccinations Wednesday in memos to employees that spell out how United will handle requests for exemptions.

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United declined to say exactly how many employees have recently been vaccinated, what percentage of the workforce is now vaccinated, or how many workers requested an exemption. The airline said it will have enough workers to operate its schedule this fall and into the holidays.

The airline said that in most cases, employees who refuse to get vaccinated won’t be allowed into the workplace starting Oct. 2.

United says requests for medical exemptions will be judged by medical staffers including nurses, while requests for waivers based on religious beliefs will be handled by personnel-office employees.

The process for handling workers whose exemptions are approved will vary slightly depending on the employee’s job.

Workers who routinely come in contact with passengers, such as flight attendants, gate agents and pilots, and whose exemptions are approved will face indefinite unpaid leave starting Oct. 2. They won’t be allowed back on the job until the pandemic “meaningfully recedes,” according to one of the memos.

Employees who rarely deal with passengers – examples include baggage handlers and mechanics – and whose exemptions are approved will also be put on leave, but only until the airline comes up with a plan for weekly testing and mandatory mask-wearing for them.

Headquarters employees whose exemptions are approved will be placed on leave until United decides on safety measures, including whether the person needs to come into the office.

In explaining the rules to employees, United cites statistics on the state of the pandemic in the U.S., where new infections are at their highest level since March and “likely to rise into the fall as more people are hospitalized.” Most of the cases, hospitalizations and deaths are occurring among unvaccinated people, the memos said.

Chicago-based United has taken the strongest pro-vaccination stance among U.S. airlines. Delta Air Lines says it will levy a $200 monthly surcharge on unvaccinated employees who are covered by the company’s health plan. Others including American Airlines say they will cut off paid leave for unvaccinated workers who contract COVID-19.

Job creation picked up steam in June as the U.S. economy added the most new workers in 10 months, driven largely by bars, restaurants and hotels re-hiring thousands of employees.

The Labor Department said in its Friday report that employers added 850,000 jobs last month even as the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 5.9%, topping Wall Street’s expectations for a gain of 700,000. It marked a vast improvement from May, when the economy added a lower-than-projected 583,000 jobs.

Leisure and hospitality, one of the industries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, led in terms of job growth, with gains of 343,000. Restaurants and bars accounted for 194,300 of the total, while hotels added 75,100 new positions – evidence that more Americans are venturing out as vaccination levels increase and business restrictions ease. Amusements, gambling and recreation hired 44,800 new workers, while employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry increased by 73,600.


There are roughly 2.2 million fewer jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry than there were in February 2020, before the pandemic began.

“Hiring jumped in June as more sectors are returning to normal operating conditions this summer,” said Ben Ayers, Nationwide senior economist. “With job openings at a record high and signs of building consumer demand, job gains, especially among service sector firms, should remain strong over the rest of the year – helping to drive the economy forward into 2022.”

Retail trade accounted for 67,100 new jobs, with gains in motor vehicle and parts dealers (9,000), clothing stores (27,900), sporting goods stores (7,400) and general merchandise stores including department stores, warehouse clubs and supercenters (24,500).

“Notable job gains in June occurred in leisureand hospitality, public and private education, professional and business services,retail trade, and other services,” the Labor Department said in the report.


Education and health services, another source of job creation, surged by 59,000 with gains across the board. Most of the gains stemmed from educational services, which added 38,600, reflecting the continued resumption of in-person learning and other school activities across the country, while 20,200 came from health care and social assistance.

Transportation and warehousing picked up 10,700 jobs, and employment in the professional and business services surged by 72,000, with gains in administrative and support services (39,700) and temporary help service (33,000).

The government also helped boost payrolls last month, hiring 188,000 new workers. Local governments accounted for the majority of those gains, onboarding 124,000 new employees in June. State governments added 69,000 workers, while the federal government lost about 5,000.


Still, some sectors actually shed workers last month: Construction employment fell by 7,000, reflecting a job loss in heavy and civil engineering construction and specialty trade contractors. Health care lost 12,200 workers, largely in

Reuters – U.S. airlines are scrambling to add staff and upgrade technology as they face anger over prolonged call center wait times while tackling a surge in air travel following COVID-19 vaccinations.

“#Delta 9 hours wait on hold is this a way to run an airline,” read one Twitter post from a Delta Air Lines customer.

After a year of being cooped up, travelers are balancing the prospect of sunshine in Florida or fresh mountain air in Montana and Wyoming – among the fastest growing U.S. travel markets – with frustrations during the booking process.

By July, U.S. domestic air fares and capacity could approach pre-pandemic levels, according to experts, but overall staffing at the three legacy carriers shrunk by roughly 20% last year.

While travelers can easily book new vacations online for flight changes or travel credits — transactions that have soared during the pandemic — they often need to go through call centers, which are also managing a flurry of questions about COVID-19 travel restrictions and requirements. To support the increase in call volumes, Delta is adding staffing and overtime, hiring temporary summer contract workers and fast-tracking technology upgrades to self-service options, a spokesman said.

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“Our wait times are not currently where we’d like to them to be,” he said. American Airlines said it is hiring hundreds of reservations agents to help with the rise in calls, while United Airlines said it is working to shorten hold times through increased staffing and technology upgrades, without providing details. U.S. airlines received billions of dollars in government aid to pay salaries and protect jobs during the pandemic but also encouraged workers to take voluntary leave packages to slim staffing because they didn’t know how long the crisis, or the government aid, would last.

Willie Walsh, the head of the International Air Transport Association, said on Wednesday that the decisions by carriers across the globe to retire aircraft and make staff redundant could hamper the aviation industry’s recovery.

An explosion in U.S. domestic leisure travel demand as more Americans become vaccinated has taken many in the industry by surprise, leaving services from airports to rental car companies and hotels short-staffed.

The strength of the rebound has possible implications beyond the airline industry since economists say air traffic is closely tied to overall economic output and is frequently seen as a guide to consumer confidence.

However, analyst John Grant of flight data specialist OAG warned on Wednesday that U.S. domestic airline traffic may be “overheating,” suggesting that legacy carriers are likely to reshape their networks toward more international markets once they reopen.

Still, Grant said plans by U.S. ultra low-cost carriers and start-ups to build domestic capacity “has to be good news for all airports of all sizes across the United States in the next few years.”

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

Visitors come to the Hickory Metro for dozens of reasons, from business to leisure to sports. In May, several large sporting events will bring visitors to the area, including the Lady Bass Anglers Association (LBAA) national bass fishing tournament, a large soccer tournament with 40-plus teams, and a basketball tournament with 80-plus teams and, of course, professional racing and baseball are in full swing this month.

“Every local tourism employee is valuable, and tourism is a major economic driver in our community,” added Hildebrand. “The travel and tourism industry is growing, and employees may start off thinking it is just a job, but that job can easily become a prosperous and fun career in hospitality.”

Below are some tourism facts:

In 2019, the last figures reported by North Carolina, there were 2,510 people in Catawba County directly employed in the travel and tourism industry.

Visitors spent more than $302 million in Catawba County in 2019.

There are more than 20 hotels and bed and breakfasts in the county and that doesn’t include registered Airbnb and vacation rentals.

The Spa at Rock Barn brings visitors throughout the nation to Conover, and some customers claim it’s the best spa experience in the nation, especially with the addition of a salt room made of pure Himalayan salt blocks, free of toxins and pollutants.

Interstellar BBQ chef-owner John Bates posted an ad on service industry job site Poached looking for front-of-house staff at his restaurant in Austin’s Anderson Mill area. Crickets. A Craigslist version of the same produced only two applicants, neither with restaurant experience.

Contigo chef-owner Andrew Wiseheart thought an industry ready to boom after pandemic-forced hibernation would allow him to cherry pick the best talent available. The staff at his ranch-inspired restaurant near Austin’s Mueller development remains incomplete.

Foreign & Domestic chef-owners Sarah Heard and Nathan Lemley received a cover letter from an applicant who stated simply: “Hey, no weekends, no late nights.”

Welcome to the world of restaurant staffing in Austin, where the unemployment rate of about 5% is lower than any other metro area in the state. After pivoting, pushing and persevering through the a year of the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants are struggling to fill kitchen and front-of-house positions. What was already a problem before the pandemic has multiplied, leading to shorthanded staffs and stressed-out employees who are ill-equipped to provide high-level service and exhausted owners searching for answers in a hypercompetitive and talent-drained market.

Put simply, the jobs are coming back, but the workers are not.

Restaurant workers, who come in close contact with the public, were not designated as essential workers by the state of Texas in the first phases of vaccine rollout. Some, spun out from a year of worrying about their own personal health, have left the industry in search of more stability. 

The rising cost of living in Austin also has made service industry work untenable for many. An industry that has long battled toxic workforce problems and dealt with natural attrition is taking on more and more water. Solutions are hard to come by. 

“I thought I would have more success looking for people," Interstellar BBQ owner John Bates said of trying to hire staff at his restaurant on FM 620.

How COVID-19 affected Austin’s restaurant industry

The leisure and hospitality industries comprise about 10% of the workforce in the Austin metro area, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, but the industry is struggling to attract and maintain workers.

The total number of non-farm jobs in the area is down 1.3% since March of 2020, but leisure and hospitality jobs are down about 16%. 

The sector accounted for about 134,000 jobs in February 2020. That number crashed to about 70,000 in April 2020, as dining rooms were closed in the area, but climbed back to about 100,000 by summer, where the number stayed until rising to about 105,000 in the first two months of this year and 112,000 in March.

Even with that increase from February to March as more Central Texans became vaccinated, there are still about 25,000 fewer people working in the sector than before the pandemic. 

The Texas Restaurant Association, which lobbies and advocates on behalf of thousands of restaurants in the state, says that even with restaurants willing to offer competitive wages and benefits, the problem is not one that the industry can solve on its own. 

“The public and private sector need to come together around solutions that will address this multi-faceted problem so our economy

As COVID-19 vaccinations continue to ramp up across the country, the Biden administration will continue to discourage official travel for the federal workforce.

Business travel for federal employees is still limited to mission critical trips, even if they’re fully vaccinated. And the administration is still discouraging international travel if at all possible, according to new guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, which posted Friday.

Exceptions include military deployments, COVID-19 response missions and diplomatic activities that can’t be done remotely.

The latest directions comply with updates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made recently to its own travel guidance for vaccinated people. 

Fully vaccinated federal employees do not need to quarantine or get tested before or after domestic travel, unless the destination requires it.

According to the CDC, individuals are considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after getting a single dose shot, like the vaccine from Johnson and Johnson.

Fully vaccinated employees don’t need to quarantine or get tested for COVID-19 before leaving the United States for international travel. But when returning from an international destination, federal employees are still required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than three days before their flight leaves or present documentation of their recovery from the virus before boarding a flight back to the U.S.

Vaccinated employees must continue to wear masks while traveling, the task force added.

The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, led by the Office of Personnel Management, General Services Administration and White House COVID-19 response team, is the product of President Joe Biden’s mask mandate executive order, which he issued on his first day in office.

The task force is designed to guide agency leaders on ways to keep their employees safe and agencies operating during the pandemic.

It also released a new testing plan for federal employees earlier this week, which includes strategies for agencies to consider and incorporate into their own COVID-19 safety guides.

“Although testing has benefits for early identification and controlling outbreaks, it should be an integrated component of the comprehensive workplace program and not used as a substitute for other measures, such as COVID-19 vaccination, proper ventilation, temperature and symptom screening, physical distancing, mask wearing, hand hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection,” the plan reads.

According to the new federal plan, agencies should refer any employee who shows symptoms of COVID-19 for diagnostic testing.

Agencies should provide a test to employees who came in close contact with a COVID-positive coworker at work or outside of the office.

They can consider providing a test to employees who may have been in close contact with a COVID-positive coworker at work, according to the task force.

Agencies could also consider basic screening measures. Workplaces where employees are in close contact with members of the public or where social distancing is difficult make good candidates for screening programs, the task force said.

Senate Bill 93 requires hotels, airports and large event centers to offer new positions to qualified former employees through 2024.

CALIFORNIA, USA — A state-wide policy requiring some hospitality and service industry employers to bring back employees that were laid off for reasons related to the pandemic, was signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom on April 16.

Senate Bill 93 requires hotels, airports and large event centers to offer new positions to qualified former employees through 2024. The business would have to offer 5 days advanced notice to former employees or it could face fines up to $500 per day.

“As we progress toward fully reopening our economy, it is important we maintain our focus on equity,” Governor Newsom said in a statement. “SB 93 keeps us moving in the right direction by assuring hospitality and other workers displaced by the pandemic are prioritized to return to their workplace.”

Industry groups are criticizing the mandate, with some saying the policy will make it even harder for the pandemic-crippled tourism sector to jump start business.

The California Chamber of Commerce along with more than a dozen leisure, travel and tourism groups across the state opposed the policy saying it will interfere and delay re-opening for, perhaps, the sector hardest hit by the pandemic.

Peter Hillan, spokesperson for the California Hotel and Lodging Association, said the industry wants their employees back and are ready and prepared to reopen.

“It’s just a time where we need to expedite that rather than put hurdles in the way,” Hillan said.

Almost all vacation travel ceased during the pandemic as state and local officials implemented policies to prevent the spread of coronavirus and warned people not to travel unless it’s for essential purposes.

California’s hospitality industry lost 24% of its workforce in 2020, according to the California Employment Development Department which handles unemployment claims and tracks labor data for the state.

“The employers targeted under this bill are already bringing back employees who were laid off, as those employees are already trained and familiar with the operations,” the California Chamber of Commerce wrote in an April 12 letter. “In fact, our impacted members who are operating under local right to recall ordinances have indicated they can’t find enough workers to fill available positions.”

Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), supporter of the bill, said it’s a targeted approach for a community that was among the hardest hit by the pandemic.

“It’s these really big companies that don’t necessarily have that relationship with their workers that they’re worried about… the 55-year-old house keeper, who, you know, without this, doesn’t’ have a lot of career opportunities,” Asm. Gonzalez said.

She said that the hospitality workers were among the first to lose their jobs during the pandemic and that some workers have been without a job for the last year due to the stop in big events.

“While we’re starting to open back up, what we wanted to make sure happened was the same workers who had lost

After the pandemic brought thousands of layoffs to Nevada’s hospitality industry and devastated the state’s economy, lawmakers are considering a “Right to Return” bill that would give casino, hospitality, stadium and travel-related workers in Nevada the right to return to their former jobs.

The bill, SB386, garnered emotional support testimony Wednesday from laid-off workers looking to return to work and the backing of labor unions, while businesses, including some Las Vegas casinos, opposed the measure, arguing that it would result in inappropriate costs and litigation.

“I should not be replaced or abandoned. I have spent my life working for this company. I should not have to start my career over,” Mario Sandoval, a food worker and Culinary Union member of 39 years who lost his job amid the pandemic, said during a hearing for the bill. “I could have hope if I was guaranteed my job back, something that company has taken away from us.”

With events canceled, travel restrictions in effect and casinos shut down for several weeks during the pandemic, the hospitality industry was forced to scale back immensely over the past year. Data from the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation shows that from March to May last year, the state’s hospitality industry lost nearly 200,000 jobs.

Sandoval’s sentiment was echoed by other hospitality workers, including Cristina Lopez, who was laid off in May at her job at Station Casinos’ Texas Station after 10 years with the company.

“This crisis is not our fault. It took us all by surprise,” Lopez said. “I have applied at 15 different jobs, but I am told that I am overqualified to work at fast-food restaurants or that I don’t have enough experience for another job. The only hope I have is for my job to come back to the way it was.”

The bill applies to workers in the casino, hospitality, stadium and travel-related economic sectors who were laid off after March 12, 2020 and who were employed for at least six months in the year prior to the governor’s first COVID-19 emergency declaration.

Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas) presented the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee bill, invoking her own parents, who were members of the Culinary Union.

“Growing up, I was the very proud daughter of a waitress and a bartender, both of whom are members of Culinary Union 226,” she said during the hearing. “Because I grew up in a family who relied on exactly the type of jobs that have been so hard hit by this pandemic, I can only imagine what these workers and their families have been through the past year.”

The bill would require employers to offer a laid-off employee each job that the employee is qualified for (e.g. someone who conducted cleaning work for a business could be eligible for other jobs associated with maintaining COVID-19 health and safety protocols). Employers also would be required to give employees who are not hired back an explanation of why they were not