* The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association live-tweeted testimony today by Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter to the Senate Tourism and Hospitality Committee about the city’s convention business…
@BobReiterJr from @chicagolabor during IL Senate Tourism Cmte. hearing: Decisions made now will impact the #travel industry for this summer and beyond. Without a roadmap, current regulations are causing events to be canceled as far out as 2022.
@BobReiterJr: Other states like Nevada & New York are moving ahead w/ changes to allow for events to reopen. We have been working w/ health experts on protocols and believe events should resume w/ 50% occupancy cap and no maximum as long as precautions are implemented.
A balancing act needs to be had that protects people’s health but also need to look at what needs to be done to get people back to work. 25-30,000 union hospitality & convention workers are out of work & are making the decisions b/w paying for healthcare, mortgage or buying food
@BobReiterJr: We can’t exist in @GovPritzker’s phase 4 limbo & just hope that regulations are going to change. We need a ramp. How do we make incremental progress as pandemic winds to a close. Help us plan a path forward that protects workers but allows them to get back to work
@BobReiterJr: @McCormick_Place is the largest convention center in the United States. The convention industry was born in Chicago. Tourism is going to come back as the cabin fever wears off.
@BobReiterJr: The conversation (on reopening the convention industry) with @GovPritzker’s office needs to be had right now.
@SenatorSara6: Since our last hearing, 2 weeks ago, Chicago has lost three giant conventions - all cancelled. Growing concern for the potential revenue loss for the state. The Colorado dial telegraphs to those convention planners that we’re on the move, getting ready.
@BobReiterJr: We need to look towards the future. Can’t focus on previous benchmarks as vaccines increase. We don’t need capacity limits. We need a percentage based occupancy cap based on the size of the space where the event is.
@SenatorSuzy: Right now, with @GovPritzker’s Restore Illinois phase 4 and 5, it’s “all or small.” We need a gradual ramp up to larger events and gatherings.
Video is here.
Also, don’t nitpick typos. Live-tweeting ain’t easy. Stick to the topic at hand.
* I asked the governor’s office for a response. Here’s Jordan Abudayyeh…
The Governor has always said as the science evolves the response to this pandemic will follow what medical experts deem appropriate. The Governor shares the eagerness to resume normal life and as vaccine becomes more readily available looks forward to the next phases of this response.
* National Restaurant Association Show, Inspired Home Show cancel McCormick Place events