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BULGARIA's holiday hotspot Sunny Beach has warned that hotels may be forced to close for the rest of the season as Brits fail to return.

Officials fear that tourism may not return in the usual numbers until 2022.

4Bulgaria's Sunny Beach fears tourists are unlikely to return for yearsCredit: AFP or licensors

Plamen Kopchev, head of the hotel owners’ association in Sunny Beach warned that mass tourism, which the resort relies on, has died out.

The beach which is popular with British holidaymakers is deserted, with empty sun-loungers on the long stretch of sand.

Beach bar owner Nedelin Yankov said: "Our turnover is down 90 percent from last year, there are simply no foreigners and Bulgarian visitors are few."

Bulgaria is yet to be put onto the UK's safe list, meaning Brits will have to quarantine for two weeks when returning home.

However, Bulgaria is not enforcing coronavirus tests or self-isolation for when UK travellers enter the country, having lifted restrictions on July 16.

4The resort, popular with British holidaymakers, has been left desertedCredit: AFP or licensors 4The UK government is yet to lift the travel ban for BulgariaCredit: AFP or licensors 4Hotels are also being forced to close, despite it being the peak holiday seasonCredit: AFP or licensors

Despite the government since subsidising charter flights to encourage tourists to return, Mr Kopchev told AFP: "We need at least 100 charter flights a day."

Yet Burgas Airport, which offers services to Sunny Beach, saw a 98 percent drop in charter flights in June, followed by 87 percent in July with just 400 flights, despite expecting nearly 3,000.

Of Sunny Beach's 150 hotels, more than half haven't even opened again, and he warned that others are likely to have to close their doors earlier than usual in the tourist season.

The collapse is unprecedented and "tragic", he said, adding: "None of us ever imagined anything like this could befall us."

However, Mr Kopchev was positive that mass tourism isn't over but will go through "years of turbulence" with pre-pandemic tourist numbers not returning until at least 2022.

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Earlier this year, beaches in Bulgaria announced plans for free amenities and services for tourists.

According to the Sofia Globe, beach umbrellas, sun beds and tables would be free-of-charge for visitors.

The average cost of a daily sun lounger on the popular beaches is approximately £5 per person - saving £140 for a family's week-long holiday alone.

Why party-loving Brits are flocking to Sunny Beach in Bulgaria instead of Magaluf

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De Blasio finds $164M in NYC labor savings by pushing union payouts to 2022

Mayor Bill de Blasio is kicking the city’s coronavirus-induced budget crisis down the road to the next administration by deferring $164 million in union payments until next summer.

The agreement with District Council 37, the city’s second-largest municipal union, allows de Blasio to skip payments due to the union’s employees and retirees from this October through April 2021. Instead, two installments will be made at unspecified dates in fiscal year 2022, according to a City Hall press release.

De Blasio is term-limited and will leave office at the end of 2021 — about halfway through that deadline.

In exchange for the delayed payments, DC37 will be shielded from any layoffs as the mayor has said he may have to put 22,000 municipal workers out of a job to plug the city’s $5 billion budget hole. “Drastic layoffs” are necessary unless the city gets $5 billion in state or federal aid, according to the mayor’s office.

De Blasio has found other so-called savings for this year’s budget by punting on $450 million due to the United Federation of Teachers until 2021.

While the mayor also touted the postponed DC37 payouts as “labor savings,” budget experts said that characterization is misleading.

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“You can’t pretend that delays save money,” said Andrew Rein, president of the independent Citizens Budget Commission.

“The city needs to restructure its finances to be stable. We have to find enough savings in this budget so that the money we collect can pay for the services we need,” he explained.

Rein said it was a mistake for de Blasio to rely on an uncertain federal bailout to solve the city’s cash crunch.

“Federal aid, we’re worthy of it. It’s welcome, we should get some. We don’t know when, We don’t know how much.

“Counting on it to solve all of our problems is a dangerous thing because it will take the pressure off doing what we need to do which is restructure the city’s finances so we can have a stable government that we can afford.

“If we don’t find those savings in the right way and in a recurring way that happens year after year, we’re just going to make our problems worse, not better,” Rein said.

Filed under bill de blasio ,  budget cuts ,  Coronavirus in NY ,  unions ,  10/28/20

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