CHICAGO (CBS) — The hotel business, seriously suffering since the pandemic began.
With workers losing jobs and hotels losing money.
CBS 2 is Working for Chicago to help you through the pandemic. CBS 2’s Jim Williams has a look at what hotels are prepared to do to keep guests safe.
The hotels say they can accommodate far more people for events and meetings than Governor JB Pritzker would allow, even under his Phase 4 plan.
Michael Jacobson, head of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, is making his case with a tour.
“This is room typically seats more than 300. It’s currently set up for 100,” Jacobson said.
That hotels in Illinois can hold events in ballrooms and meeting rooms and still maintain social distancing.
“The tables are spaced much greater, no less than six feet from each other,” Jacobson said.
Governor Pritzker’s Phase 4 reopening calls for no more than 50 people in such an area.
“Getting to a larger number will really be up to the researchers and scientists and something I’ll listen to,” said Pritzker.
Jacobson said a ballroom at the London House, for example, could accommodate far more than 50 people, without exceeding 50% capacity.
“With the protocols we have in place, we are confident. We’ve gotten the assurances from health experts, that it can be done in a safe way at 50 percent occupancy rather than an arbitrary cap after 50 people,” Jacobson insisted.
It is has been a devastating three months for the hotel industry. Jacobson says 75% of its employees in Illinois have lost their jobs.
Twelve hotel chains with properties in Illinois reported to the state 2,192 furloughs or permanent layoffs in May alone.
“We’re ready to go if the state gives us the green light,” Jacobson said. He added that it’s time for hotel employees to return to their jobs now that precautions are in place.
“The last thing anybody wants, any hotelier here wants, is the next case of COVID-19 happening at our properties.”
Pritzker said he’s open to listening to plans from hotels and understands what hotels are going through, but he appears committed to his Phase 4 plan.