WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29), Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL-11), Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL-13) and Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI-6) introduced the bipartisan Pandemic Effects on Home Safety and Tourism Act. The legislation would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to study the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on injuries and deaths associated with consumer products. It would also help improve tourism across the country by directing the Secretary of Commerce to study and report on the effects of the COVID–19 pandemic on the travel and tourism industry.
“Families are facing a variety of stresses during this pandemic but getting injured at home should not be one of them,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “As Americans continue to spend time at home, we cannot ignore the safety risks that certain consumer products pose. Our bipartisan bill will require that these issues be studied, so lawmakers can take appropriate measures to protect consumers and children from any injuries.”
“California is home to an array of tourist destinations, many right here in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the ongoing pandemic has devastated the livelihoods of Angelenos who rely on travel and hospitality to make ends meet. If we want to build off of President Biden’s work, we need to understand the pandemic’s full impact on tourist-dependent jobs. This study will help us come up with solutions to rebuild our tourism sector and boost our economy in California and across the country,” continued Congressman Cárdenas.
“The bedrock tourism, travel and hospitality industries here in Tampa Bay and our neighbors who rely on those jobs need help from the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. By directing the Department of Commerce to study the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the travel, tourism and hospitality industries, we can create a plan to help these industries and workers bounce back and avoid the worst impacts in future emergencies. This comprehensive study will help us get the data we need for near-term action to serve those in the hard-hit tourism, travel and hospitality industries. And, in the long run, this study will help us understand the impact the pandemic has wreaked on travel, tourism and hospitality for future planning,” said Congresswoman Castor.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has truly changed our daily lives, and that includes routines at home and while traveling,” said Congressman Davis. “COVID-19 mitigation efforts in recent months have meant that families and individuals spent more time at home during the pandemic, which has hurt the tourism industry and has also led to an increase in at-home injuries caused by consumer products. Our bipartisan legislation will help policymakers get a full understanding of how the pandemic has affected consumer patterns and safety across our country.”
“Early last year, the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered travel and tourism worldwide, gutting the billions of dollars in economic activity they generate year after year – and Michigan was no exception,” said Congressman Upton. “Many vibrant communities across Southwest Michigan and along Lake Michigan rely on our thriving tourism industry – which powers our local economies – to support their families and businesses, and I will always have their backs. The Pandemic Effects on Home Safety and Tourism Act is an important step in the right direction to study the real impacts of this vicious virus on tourism nationwide and ensure that we have a plan to mitigate these harmful effects in the future.”
According to recent reports, pediatricians and ER doctors have seen an increase in patients seeking treatment for home injuries following the coronavirus outbreak. The Pandemic Effects on Home Safety and Tourism Act directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to study the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on injuries and deaths caused by consumer products to members of vulnerable groups, including children, minorities, seniors and people with disabilities. The bill will require the CPSC to submit quarterly reports to Congress examining the incidence of injuries and deaths from consumer products suffered by members of vulnerable groups and also directs the CPSC to coordinate with the media to distribute resource information to help increase home safety during the pandemic, such as the CPSC’s Home Safe Checklists.
The bill is endorsed by Consumer Reports, the National Consumers League, the Consumer Federation of America, Kids in Danger and the U.S. Travel Association.
“The pandemic has had uneven impacts on child safety and product-related injuries, reducing some such as sports injuries, but increasing others in the home such as ingestions of button cell batteries and other dangerous items,” said Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of Kids In Danger, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting children by fighting for product safety. “We applaud the sponsors of this important legislation to ensure that we have timely data on injury patterns during the pandemic so we can work together to keep children safe.”
“It’s critical to understand how the pandemic has changed the way people – and especially children – are getting injured by household products,” said Oriene Shin, policy counsel for Consumer Reports. “This bipartisan bill recognizes that helping people keep their families safe depends on having clear data. Consumer Reports thinks the bill’s sponsors for their leadership.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed where and how consumers have been spending their time. We need more information about how these changes have impacted product safety incidents, injuries, and deaths,” said Rachel Weintraub legislative director and general counsel at Consumer Federation of America. “This legislation will take important steps to better document the consequences of the pandemic on product safety incidents by requiring frequent reports by the CPSC for the duration of the emergency. We applaud the introduction of this legislation.”
“This important legislation calls for identification of trends in injuries and deaths from consumer products and will provide much-needed data on injury patterns during the pandemic. We thank the sponsors for pressing forward with this bill to gather data that are critical to our efforts to keep children and other consumers safe,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director, National Consumers League.
“Travel-supported jobs accounted for 65% of all U.S. jobs lost last year, and those jobs won’t fully return until we can bring back international and business-related travel along with the domestic leisure market,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “We thank Reps. Cárdenas, Castor, Davis and Upton for advancing this bill that will better inform the policy groundwork that must be laid for the travel industry’s recovery.”
The Pandemic Effects on Home Safety and Tourism Act passed under suspension during the 116th Congress.
Contact: Rachel Weintraub, CFA. 202-904-4953