NYC hotels hoping for July re-opening following coronavirus shutdown
After temporarily closing their doors to ward off the coronavirus, some of New York City’s largest hotel chains are already predicting a summer rebound.
“The property looks forward to welcoming guests later this summer,” a Hilton spokesperson told The Post of the Hilton New York Midtown — New York’s largest hotel, with 1,878 rooms.
The hotel, a popular convention and events space, turned off the lights last weekend as Big Apple travel came to a screeching halt and coronavirus infections across the state skyrocketed.
The Hilton spokeswoman declined to offer specifics about when over the summer it might reopen, but other hoteliers say they are betting on July.
“We are currently taking reservations for July 1 based on the curve this virus has taken in other countries,” said Richard Born, who operates some 5,000 hotel rooms in New York, including the 618-room Wellington Hotel, the 665-room Pod Times Square and the 600-room Watson Hotel.
On Friday, Gov. Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses to keep their workers at home as the number of Empire State coronavirus cases topped 20,000 — or more than half of all US cases. The quarantine, dubbed New York Pause, is expected to last through at least April 19, but it’s currently unclear how long the pandemic will last.
President Trump, when asked last week “how long all of this might last,” offered: “People are talking about July, August, something like that.”
Meanwhile, some smaller and independent hotel properties may never make it to summer if coronavirus-induced losses force businesses to cut back on spending, industry experts warned.
“One of the first things a company does is cut back on travel,” noted Chip Rogers, chief executive of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
The hiatus is also expected to be painful for the thousands of people employed by the hospitality industry, including housekeepers, bellhops, reservation clerks, waiters and maintenance workers.
Rogers says about 75 percent of hotel workers across the country have already been furloughed or let go by now, while Peter Ward, head of the Hotel and Motel Trades Council, told NY1.com that some 95 percent of the hotel industry’s union staff could be laid off as soon as this week.
The 878-room Hudson Hotel New York has not yet closed because it is still sheltering stranded overseas travelers — and potentially first responders, explained Geoffrey Mills, vice president of the Hudson. Some 60 travelers from Spain, Italy and France have extended their stays at the Midtown hotel because they don’t feel comfortable traveling, Mills said.
Born, too, has registered his hotels with the city and state to serve as accommodations for the emergency and health care workers who will be operating out of makeshift hospitals at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, universities and other spaces also being made available to treat an expected flood of coronavirus patients.
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