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Santa Monica Hotels Poised for a Comeback
By Jorge Casuso
July 2, 2020 -- Santa Monica's tourism industry is back on track after the coronavirus shutdown, with nearly all of its 41 hotels open for business with heightened safety measures, tourism officials said.
“The current global health crisis has been devastating in many ways, from the loss of lives and loved ones to the loss of jobs and economic opportunity,” said SMTT President/CEO Misti Kerns.
“The decimation of travel demand has resulted in a profoundly negative impact particularly on employees, small businesses, local restaurants, attractions and many other tourist-serving businesses,” Kerns said.
Santa Monica's thriving tourism industry -- which pumped nearly $2 billion into the local economy in 2018 -- took a direct hit during the coronavirus emergency.
Hotels -- which contributed $58.6 million to the general fund through bed taxes and accounted for nearly 13,000 jobs -- were closed to leisure travel.
In late April, City officials projected that bed taxes would see a 42 percent drop over the next fiscal year as national and international travel is curtailed.
The first steps to recovery were taken last month, when LA County officials announced hotels could reopen starting June 12, although large meeting venues and banquet halls remain closed.
Top prepare for the reopenings, local hotels increased procedures and guidelines for cleaning and sanitation and are ensuring health protocols are followed by guests and employees, Kerns said.
The Fairmont Miramar Hotel, which opened for leisure travel on Wednesday, has implemented "extensive measures" that include increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting, to prevent the spread of the virus, hotel officials said.
The measures include physical distancing; mandatory screening, which may include a temperature check; masks provided to guests and worn by all employees, and a 48-hour “settling period” for occupied rooms after the gusts depart, officials said.
The hotel also has provided "hands-on training for all employees, a dedicated on-property rollout committee and a formal audit program to ensure initial and continued compliance."
The family owned and operated Santa Monica Proper Hotel also is implementing special measures, said Managing Director Julien Laracine.
As part of the recovery effort, more than a dozen local hotels, including Santa Monica Proper, are offering residents deeply discounted hotel room rates. For information on the program, visit santamonica.com/local-hotel-offers/
Residents can secure the rates by simply mentioning they are a resident while making the reservation over the phone or online, then showing a California ID or drivers’ license at check-in, SMTT officials said.
Kerns is hopeful Santa Monica's tourism industry will make a comeback with help from local residents.
"We are a resilient community and seeing our residents and businesses pulling together over the last few weeks has provided hope," she said.
"If we make it a point to continue that support by making our purchases and booking overnight visits here at home, we can each positively contribute to rebuilding Santa Monica’s economy," Kerns said.
"Every dollar spent will help to propel the economy forward."
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