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Monterey County Hospitality Association looks back on pandemic impacts on industry

hotel
KION

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Monterey County’s hospitality industry took a big hit during the last year. The pandemic brought on a $1.8 billion loss in revenue, according to Monterey County Hospitality Association Chair Janine Chicourrat.

Chicourrat also said the City of Monterey alone lost $500 million and $16 million in their Transient Occupancy Tax, which helps fund police and fire departments and the library.

Hotel workers faced massive layoffs at the start of the shelter in place.

Now a year later, some of them have returned to work.

Chicourrat, also the managing director at The Portola Hotel & Spa, said the five largest hotels in the area have brought back about 15 percent of workers on the low end and 40 percent on the high end.

“We’re no where near getting our workers back to work. They’re still quietly suffering in our community and these are really good people that never went through a food bank and very proud, for no fault of their own, that have been forced to be basically unemployed for now going on a year,” Chicourrat said.

Under the Regional Stay at Home Order, lifted just a couple of months ago, hotels and lodges were not able to take in customers unless the rooms were for essential workers, the homeless or COVID-19-related containment measures.

Now under the red tier, the restrictions have eased a bit, but still, hotels have challenges; they can’t host groups or do weddings. Also, with many visitors to the area coming out only for day trips, Chicourrat said the hospitality industry is not near where they need to be for recovery.

She said the industry needs funding to be able to market their services to those are ready to travel.

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Elisha Machado

Elisha Machado is a weekend anchor and multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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