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Central Coast

Concerns about non-essential hotel use in Carmel

CARMEL

CARMEL, Calif. (KION) -- As the state remains in a safer-at-home order, for most people, traveling has been reduced to essential travel only.

Central Coast resident, who we will refer to as, "Mike" messaged us asking:

"If California's stay-at-home order and shelter-in-place is in effect, then why do we have tourists staying in hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea? Under the current orders they should only be available for essential business travel. Yet, many CA residents from outside of our county and zone are enjoying getaways in these hotels? Why isn't anyone enforcing this?"

"Mike"

"Well, actually there's not a whole lot going on with the hotels because the fact the visitor population has really thinned," says Carmel-by-the-Sea Mayor, Dave Potter.

Potter says he hasn't received even one email about this problem. He does say the city runs on tax-based revenue and is bracing for financial effects of the current guidelines, including the ban on outdoor dining.

When it comes to essential travel… mayor potter says its not that easy to define.

"What's essential is a little bit open to interpretation if you ask me," says Potter

Potter gets a first-hand look at the hotel industry in carmel, as his wife Janine Chicourrat is the Managing Director for the Portola Hotel.

She says the number of essential travelers there has been minimal.

"We put the onus on the guests to be essential travelers. So, we're not actively marketing and promoting to have leisure travel in fact we actively say don't come here now, come here later when the time is right," says Chicourrat.

The Monterey County District Attorney's Office released a statement to KION about this potential problem saying:

"The District Attorney's Office has received approximately seven complaints regarding hotels since the new Regional Stay at Home Order went into effect, one of which is in the City of Carmel. The hotels that we have spoken to so far have procedures in place requiring guests to declare that they are traveling for essential purposes only. We are in the process of investigating the remaining complaints, or have referred the complaints to local code enforcement in some instances.”

Emily Hickok, Monterey County District Attorney's Office
Message Max / Monterey County / News / Top Stories
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Max Tarlton

Max Tarlton is a morning anchor at KION News Channel 5/46.

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