2020: Good riddance

We are still a few weeks away from ringing in 2021, but I, like many of you, am more than ready to turn the page on this miserable, disappointing and tragic year.

As of Nov. 10, 245,000 Americans have died from complications due to Covid-19. Many small businesses have gone under and the prospects for a readily available coronavirus vaccine are still months away.

In early January, my company, BB Riverboats, estimated that 2020 would be a very strong year. The business outlook was extremely bright, and our forecast called for significant increases in revenue with record highs on some of our riverboat cruises. We invested in a new facility, complete with a new kitchen and spacious event spaces. We planned on trying out some new menu items and extending our cruising schedule well into the fall. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we were forced to cancel cruises and furlough or lay off employees.

Our representatives in Washington, D.C., have abandoned us in our time of financial need as this pandemic drags on. They are not negotiating with each other and are playing games with the future of our employees and our businesses. From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) has worked tirelessly to represent our interests in Washington. They have fought for emergency funding, advocated for another round of the Paycheck Protection Program, and have been lobbying for passage of the CERTS Act, which, if passed, would provide grants to passenger vessel operators. PVA members have written letters to editors, state governors, members of Congress, the president, and key administration officials. Our representatives in D.C. must work together to help solve this ongoing problem for the sake of our nation and our citizens.

Despite all of this, I am optimistic about 2021. I am hopeful that the U.S. will show improvement in controlling the pandemic and we will see an uptick in our businesses. I hope to rehire employees and begin the long journey back to where we were at the beginning of 2020. I can’t wait to send all of this confusion and stress down the river. I hope everyone will be able to do that and have a much better 2021.

About the author

Capt. Alan Bernstein

Alan Bernstein, owner of BB Riverboats in Cincinnati, is a licensed master and a former president of the Passenger Vessel Association. He can be reached at 859-292-2449 or abernstein@bbriverboats.com.

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