Since the beginning of COVID-19 shutdowns in March, New York City has been suffering. At the top of the list of those businesses worst affected is the hotel industry. What were planned to be only temporary shutdowns have turned into permanent closures for many locations. Patrick McGeehan reports for the New York Times:
Many of New York City’s biggest hotels closed their doors in March when the coronavirus wiped out tourism and business travel. The shutdowns were supposed to be temporary, but six months later, with no potential influx of visitors in sight, a wave of permanent closures has begun.
Sinking under the weight of overdue mortgage payments and property taxes, some hotels have already shut down for good, and many others are struggling to survive.
In the last two weeks, the 478-room Hilton Times Square and two Courtyard by Marriott hotels in Manhattan said they would not reopen, joining several others that had already closed for good, including the 399-room Omni Berkshire Place in Midtown.
All told, more than 25,000 hotel employees have been out of work for more than six months, making the industry one of the hardest-hit in the city and emblematic of the challenges New York faces as it tries to recover from the economic crisis set off by the coronavirus outbreak.
Financial experts say they expect the pace of hotel failures to accelerate as lenders lose patience half a year into the pandemic.
“The fall is really in New York the strongest season of the year for hotels,” said Douglas Hercher, managing director of Robert Douglas, an investment banking firm that specializes in hotels. “It kicks off with the United Nations General Assembly, conventions, the holidays, the Rockettes. That whole season is basically going to be a wipeout.”
Vijay Dandapani, the president of the Hotel Association of New York City, which represents 300 of the city’s hotels, was equally glum about the industry’s prospects.
“The year’s a washout,” he said in an interview. “It’s a complete washout.”
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