It wasn’t the most scientific of surveys, but the Netherlands-American Chamber of Commerce Southeast’s simple poll of member companies revealed clear results: Most Dutch firms in the region will suffer from reduced travel between Europe and the U.S. amid the coronavirus outbreak sweeping the globe.
“Companies are indicating that they are being affected by the canceled events, trade shows and business trips but also the uncertainty about traveling back and forth between the U.S. and the Netherlands,” the chamber said in an email to members.
Seventy percent of respondents answered “yes” to an up-or-down question about whether the travel ban would negatively impact their business.
The survey was issued just after President Trump announced last March 11 that the U.S. would close the door to travelers from the 26-country Schengen area in a bid to contain the outbreak of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
The virus has become a global pandemic with an epicenter that has now shifted from Asia to Europe as it grows exponentially in places like Germany, France and Spain. The improvement of testing capabilities in the U.S. has already begun to reveal a similar upward curve. The Netherlands had about 3,000 cases and 107 deaths as of March 20.
The European Union on March 19 issued its own restriction on inward travel from third countries like the U.S., with the Dutch government listing specifics and limited exceptions on its website.
Dutch airline KLM, which has a transatlantic joint venture with Delta Air Lines, is operating daily flights from Amsterdam to Atlanta through March 24, with reduced frequencies after that. Delta is also operating daily flights from Atlanta for a limited time. KLM offered the following advice to its passengers:
If you are currently far from your home, we invite you to anticipate your return trip now by contacting your usual point of sale or via our website. To be able to help passengers that have an imminent departure first, we kindly ask you to check for latest information on our website, (re)book flights via My Trip and not contact us unless your flight is scheduled within the next 72 hours.
Money 20/20, a popular financial technology conference attended by many Georgia companies each year, is planning to move ahead as scheduled in mid-June in Amsterdam.
The Netherlands-American Chamber in releasing its survey also put out the latest information on how companies could access loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration and information on dealing with employee layoffs and unemployment insurance by state. Invest Atlanta is also offering small-business loans to cover payroll and rent.
The Netherlands consulate in Atlanta offered this update regarding the availability of consular services during the outbreak:
The Netherlands Consulate General in Atlanta remains operational for assistance to our citizens and companies.
Provision by phone and email continuing as normal. In person assistance by appointment only.
Check our website for updates https://t.co/wdEz0DNvf9
— Ard van der Vorst (@NLinAtlanta) March 17, 2020