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Restaurant owners seeing light at the end of the tunnel, but hotel owners are gloomy

Friday, Jun 26, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Bill Wheelhouse

“We started with 594,000 people working in the [restaurant] industry at the beginning of the year and 321,000 are either on unemployment or furlough,” [Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia] said. “But we’re seeing some light at the end of the tunnel here as we move into Phase Four. What we see as the governor, you know, confirms that the state is ready to safely reopen, that you have to have your tables six feet apart, social distancing is very, very important.”

The association is encouraging workers to wear face coverings and gloves and to clean hands frequently. Groups of diners will be separated by at least six feet. Toia is also asking diners to give a bit.

“So it’s very important when you go into a restaurant you have your face cover on. Then when you sit down you can take it off while you are eating, but if you get up to go to the restroom, you put your face covering back on,” said Toia.

Toia expects about 80% of food establishments to still be in business.

* The hotel industry is quite upset, however. This is from Michael Jacobson, president and CEO of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, hotels across Illinois have worked closely with health experts to implement new safety procedures designed to protect employees and guests. Hotels are tightly controlled environments, making it easier to mitigate risk than in other public spaces. For instance, technology can be used to limit interactions between employees and guests, our ballrooms have far greater capacity for social distancing and we utilize guest lists to assist in contact tracing, if needed.

As an early adopter of these practices, we are confident hotels can safely host larger gatherings in meeting rooms and ballrooms as Illinois enters the next phase of the governor’s reopening plan. By implementing additional protocols, including temperature checks, limiting the number of people seated at tables and eliminating buffet-style food options, we believe occupancy limits can responsibly be raised to 50% of capacity. Under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s current plan, hotels would face a strict 50-person limit for all events until a treatment or vaccine becomes available — a prospect that could take years and jeopardizes thousands of events already booked in our venues.

Such a limit makes it nearly impossible for hotels to host weddings and business meetings in a cost-effective manner. These events make up to half of a hotel’s bottom line. Unnecessarily limiting attendance will only compound the damage hotels have already experienced, including massive layoffs and closures. In Illinois, state and local municipalities have lost out on $691.8 million in tax revenue generated by the hotel industry, according to a recent study by Oxford Economics.

No mention of how they intend to address the viral load issue.

…Adding… From a JP Morgan report…


* Meanwhile, in Texas…


       

22 Comments
  1. - Pundent - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 10:03 am:

    =we are confident hotels can safely host larger gatherings in meeting rooms and ballrooms=

    Movie theaters are also “confident” about what is safe. But like hotels they haven’t explained how they would be able to counter the issues associated with the viral load of having people in an enclosed spaces for several hours. And unlike the theater a wedding ballroom is not necessarily a quiet place. Are they going to tell the wedding party that dancing is off limits? I just read of 18 people in Texas contracting the disease at a Memorial Day party. Can you imagine what an indoor wedding might bring?


  2. - Cheryl44 - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 10:15 am:

    I don’t see how movie theaters open–they can’t possibly sell all the seats, they don’t have the staff to make sure people are all bunched together. If they expect people to keep their masks on during a screening, they can’t sell concessions, which is where they make their money.


  3. - OneMan - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 10:19 am:

    Going to give Texas a little credit for at least realizing they need to adjust.

    There was an interesting interview with John Taffer (the Bar Rescue guy) where he talked about how he is hearing from the theaters are going to end up going more full service (food and drink) and use that to deal with the revenue loss and how by configuring for that, you will also end up with better spacing. We have on a theater near me that has had that setup for a while and as long as they eliminate some seats they should be good on social distancing.


  4. - Stu - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 10:27 am:

    Restaurant owners must be VERY happy not to have capacity percentage limits as originally suggested (25%). Spacing of tables will certainly cut into their occupancy but not nearly as much as feared.
    Bar/”standing” areas still have to abide by 25% occupancy.


  5. - efudd - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 10:33 am:

    Wasn’t it the Lt Guv of Texas who stated the economy was more important than lives?
    That he had spoken to many elderly Texans and they were willing to sacrifice their health for money?

    Apparently talk, like everything else in Texas, is big.


  6. - Ed Equity - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    The rise in young people and the decrease in the old, shows awareness campaigns are working. Government is eventually going to figure out that like it or not, this will work its way through the population, but should do so by creating focused programs to protect the vulnerable. If the new projections of 20,000,000 becomes the new denominator, we have some very good news as the death rate doesn’t show the same trend lines. Likely only elderly, obese, hypertension, diabetic, and other high risks are impacted while the rest of the economy can keep on trucking. Red states are getting this faster than blue states and it will likely be demonstrated in elections this fall. We’ll see.


  7. - DuPage - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 10:40 am:

    Theaters would need to have their HVAC adjusted. They would need to bring in 100% fresh air supply, and exhaust 100% of the contaminated return air. This infection control method has been proven effective in operating rooms and other high risk areas in hospitals. This would however increase their heating and air conditioning energy bills. They would have to raise ticket prices to cover the extra cost.


  8. - Nick - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 10:48 am:

    Texas shutting down bars again sort of puts all the whining we had last month into perspective.

    Though that could be is again in a few months, who knows


  9. - yinn - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 10:50 am:

    Piggybacking on OneMan’s comment. It reminded me of living in Germany as a high school exchange student. We’d go to the Kino Tanzbar (movie dance bar) a multipurpose space where we could dance to jukebox music, get a bite to eat and catch a movie a bit later in the evening.

    I watched my first Bruce Lee movie there, as well as a bunch of fun spaghetti westerns ft. Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. I also allowed myself to be goaded into drinking brandy and Coke, after which I suffered my first Katzenjammer.

    I digress. The seating was bar tables and everyone turned their chairs to face the screen when it was time to watch the movie. I could see myself doing that again at some point.


  10. - Chatham Resident - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 10:53 am:

    ==Theaters would need to have their HVAC adjusted. They would need to bring in 100% fresh air supply, and exhaust 100% of the contaminated return air.==

    Not to mention that State office buildings (many of which are older buildings where asbestos can be another issue too) need to also have their HVACs adjusted as well. Especially with some employees (including all Sec. of State employees) already back to work in the office after the shutdowns.


  11. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 10:59 am:

    Hospitality businesses and interests should direct their frustration at the federal government for completely failing to meet this problem, not those state and local leaders who are trying to save people’s lives.


  12. - jimbo26 - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 11:00 am:

    Hotels are in more trouble than they realize. Many businesses have found they can do zoom meetings and save hotel, flight, and lost employee time to travel and will continue to meet in more cost-effective ways as they explore staying in business themselves.


  13. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 11:04 am:

    Florida reports almost 9,000 cases today, a massive jump, with a 19% positivity rate. Just devastating. Now what will happen to businesses without a real handle on this?


  14. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 11:10 am:

    == Florida reports almost 9,000 cases today==

    Just heard this on the radio, that is a crazy high number of new cases. A lot of folks hated the govs early orders, I wonder if the recent surges have changed their minds at all?


  15. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 11:45 am:

    Trying to keep your positive test numbers under 10% is such an odd public goal.

    Watching elected officials treat a pandemic they same way they’ve treated climate change has been interesting. It’s easy to ignore a problem when it causes a continuous nightmare a few decades after you expect to die, hard to do it when the turn around time for your failures to lead is just a couple of months.


  16. - Pundent - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 11:55 am:

    =Trying to keep your positive test numbers under 10% is such an odd public goal.=

    There is no good that can come from manipulating the numbers. The primary goal of testing is to identify community spread and take steps to minimize the effects through isolation and tracing. When you take that away it’s like putting the hoses away while the wildfire burns.


  17. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 11:56 am:

    I guess it might be helpful to have Texas as an example to see how hard it is to get the genie back in the bottle. That’s probably the extent of my ability to be optimistic about this.


  18. - pool boy - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 12:00 pm:

    I feel for hotels but who would want to stay at one right now? I’m sure we have all checked into a room that wasn’t cleaned let alone the lobby and pool area. I do not want to take that chance.


  19. - DuPage - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 12:30 pm:

    @- Chatham Resident - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 10:53 am:

    ==Theaters would need to have their HVAC adjusted. They would need to bring in 100% fresh air supply, and exhaust 100% of the contaminated return air.==

    ===Not to mention that State office buildings (many of which are older buildings where asbestos can be another issue too) need to also have their HVACs adjusted as well. Especially with some employees (including all Sec. of State employees) already back to work in the office after the shutdowns.===

    Yes, agree completely.


  20. - @misterjayem - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    “Now what will happen to businesses without a real handle on this?”

    To be honest, I haven’t yet seen any public-facing businesses with a real handle on this.

    Still mostly improvisation and hope as far as I can tell.

    – MrJM


  21. - ryan - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 2:35 pm:

    I like the restaurant/grocery store metric.

    To test the Texas governor’s assertion, it would be interesting to see the same graphic for bars vs. liquor store/grocery sales of alcohol.


  22. - GregN - Friday, Jun 26, 20 @ 3:34 pm:

    Texas is still half-a@#ing it:
    Day care, summer camps, and churches remain unrestricted.
    At least my granddaughter’s Ft Worth school district is giving a choice of in-person or e-learning this coming fall. She’ll be doing the latter, with an option for the former after XMAS break.
    Also: USAA has extended WFH orders thru the end of the year.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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