Industry Leaders: Prepare for Coronavirus with Facts, Not Fear

WASHINGTON—With fears of the coronavirus spreading, U.S. travel and commerce leaders said that reaction to the coronavirus must be based on the facts and information available.

“While these concerns are certainly understandable, our response has to be grounded in fact, not fear,” said Thomas J. Donohue, CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a press conference held today.“What we’re telling our members—and that’s critical—is the same advice we’re following ourselves: Be prudent, be prepared and don’t overreact. We should be guided by the facts and the advice from medical experts and the federal, state and local officials who are dealing with this situation. That largely means business as usual with limited exceptions.”

Roger Dow, president, U.S. Travel Association, said that with the risk to traveling in the U.S. low, Americans should react appropriately and avoid overreacting. “I often say, ‘Without safety and security, there can be no travel,’” he said. “And that’s true today. That’s why we’re in collaboration with the CDC, HHS officials, and why we listen closely to the guidance for travelers offered by the CDC and other public health officials. We’re urging the vast industry to share this message and we’re encouraging the traveling public to practice it. Expert guidance tells us, for the most part, the majority of American travel within the U.S. is safe and should go on unimpeded.”

Chip Rogers, president/CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), said that Americans should follow the guidelines from the CDC—standards that the hotel industry has been following since before the outbreak. “We’ve gone beyond those standards even this time, adding additional cleanings to hotels,” he said. “When we look at the safety of the industry and our hotels, it’s as good or better than it’s ever been. The fact is there’s no place in the U.S. right now where it’s not safe to travel. It’s still safe to travel. Millions of Americans should not be putting off their plans out of fear.”