SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento County is waiving licensing fees and allowing rent relief for businesses inside the Sacramento International Airport to help with the impact of the coronavirus.

The cost to county taxpayers is an estimated $8 million. But will the relief extend to employees already laid off?

The unmistakable sound of jet engines taking off from the airport is in stark contrast to the sound of silence inside the airport. Travelers in the terminals are scarce. Businesses are closed, and those open have small crews. Restaurants can only offer takeout services.

Employees at airport restaurants who’ve been left out of work are still waiting to find out what will happen to them when the travel business turns back around.

COVID cutbacks have left Lisa Cavanaugh with no job. She was furloughed from her airport server position in March, then laid off In October after three decades of experience at her restaurant.

“It’s so insulting, it’s really an insult,” Cavanaugh said. “People with seniority are taking a huge hit.”

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She says her company HMS Host told her she’ll have to re-apply for her same position when it reopens. If she’s re-hired, she’d be offered a beginner’s salary.

“So there is a conflict going on,” Cavanaugh said. “We have a fight on our hands with our union.”

Unite Here Local 49 is negotiating to get airport restaurant employees their jobs back at the same pay scale they made when they were laid off because of the coronavirus.

“People who’ve been there 20, 30, 40 years have done a great job, lost their job through no fault of their own,” Unite Here Local 49’s Aamir Deen said.

Travel trouble and coronavirus. Will Sacramento County’s financial aid help airport restaurants and their employees bounce back from a hard landing? Sacramento County’s airport rent relief will last through 2021.

Sacramento International Airport passenger traffic right now is estimated at 60% of normal right now.

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