9:55 AM Jul 23, 2020 CDT

Hotel revenue down in Bay Area; tourism groups shift focus to daytrippers

While COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Harris and Galveston counties, local tourism groups have reported a drop in hotel and motel revenue.



Six months in, Houston-area apartment rents still feeling COVID-19 squeeze

Rents for high-end Class A properties averaged $1,463 in August, the lowest such level in over two years.



Texas Workforce Commission applies for additional unemployment benefit funding

The Texas Workforce Commission has reported 3.2 million Texans have filed for unemployment relief since mid-March.


Applications open Aug. 19 for Houston’s small business relief program. Here’s how to apply.

The $15 million program, which is funded by CARES Act dollars, offers grants of up to $50,000 to small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.


TABC change opens window for some bars to qualify as restaurants under state pandemic orders

Following a new industry guideline recently distributed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, more bars across the state may soon be able to qualify as restaurants.


Shortened census timeline could shortchange Houston, its most vulnerable communities

The 2020 U.S. census response rate is already lagging behind 2010 numbers, and officials said the shortened timeline only increases the chances of an undercount.


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Report: With boost in e-commerce, Texas sales tax receipts increased 4.3% in July

The loss of extra unemployment support could send numbers back down, however.


Houston City Council approves $15 million small business relief fund

Businesses making less than $2 million in revenue are encourage to apply when the program opens in mid-August.


Q&A: Houston business leader says federal Paycheck Protection Program has ‘made a significant difference’

"The doors [for business assistance] have been opened just about as wide as they can be made because it’s very unusual times," said Tim Jeffcoat, the district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration in Houston.


Some breweries may qualify to operate as restaurants under new TABC guidelines

Some breweries across the state may now reopen as restaurants after the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission released new guidelines on how restaurants may calculate their alcohol sales receipts.



Comptroller: Texas has lost 2 million jobs, is projected to lose $4.6B due to COVID-19

The state of Texas gained 50,000 new jobs in February, but since the coronavirus pandemic hit, more than 2 million jobs have been lost.


Here's how to participate in Texas' annual sales tax holiday Aug. 7-9

This year sales tax-exempt purchases can be made online, over the phone or by mail.


Houston official: US has lost 6 years of job growth due to pandemic downturn

Despite gains made in early June, Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research for the Greater Houston Partnership, said the Greater Houston area still has more than 217,000 jobs to recoup for the economy to return to its prepandemic state—a process that could take anywhere from two to five years.


As state revenues take hit, business group wants lawmakers to reconsider private partnerships for road projects

With congestion levels worsening and funding shortfalls looming, officials with the newly formed Keep Texas Moving said public-private partnerships could advance projects through optional toll lanes, among other means.



‘It’s been rough’: Kemah business owners fear closure amid slow tourist season due to COVID-19

Small business owners in Kemah are struggling to make ends meet as sales continue to decline.


UPDATE: In clarified guidance, TABC now states customers may not drink on brewery patios

In a July 22 update, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission states that breweries may not have customers consume alcohol on patios.


League City sales tax revenue for May rebounds

It appears League City's fiscal year 2020-21 budget will not face as dire a shortfall as officials originally expected.


Applications open soon for Harris County's $30 million small business assistance program

Eligible small businesses may receive a grant of up to $25,000 to cover payroll costs, rent and other operating expenses.



Comptroller: Texas June sales tax revenue totaled $2.7 billion, down 6.5% from a year ago

The Texas comptroller's office has released June sales tax revenue figures.


Experts: National visa suspension could affect workforce in top Houston-area industries

The June visa suspension includes skilled foreign workers associated with various fields, such as energy, technology, medicine and academics.


Harris County health director: Health, safety must be prioritized when reopening businesses

“Unfortunately, we have a lot of real concern about people not heeding the message of the importance of … masks and face coverings and all the different things people need to do," said Umair Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health.


Work search requirement paused for Texans on unemployment benefits

Texans receiving unemployment benefits will have a little extra time before they have to prove they are actively looking for work to continue receiving state assistance.



More than 30 Texas bars sue over Gov. Greg Abbott's recent shutdown order

The lawsuit was filed in Travis County District Court by Jared Woodfill, a Houston attorney who has led previous legal efforts opposing Abbott’s other shutdown orders during the pandemic.


New task force to address Houston-area housing crisis in wake of COVID-19

Harris County and the city of Houston have launched a joint task force designed to address a local housing crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and an energy industry downturn.