Hotel industry seeks changes to order that limits occupancy to business travelers

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The Delaware Hotel and Lodging Association has written a letter to Gov. John Carney seeking changes to Phase 1 reopening restrictions that limit lodging guests to business travelers.

The Phase 1 order goes into effect on June 1.

The letter from Chairman William Silva cited the ability of hotels to meet health and safety standards while housing essential workers during the pandemic.

Silva also cited the economic impact of an industry that employs 17,000 in Delaware.

“The hotels in Delaware have prepared and continue to prepare for the “new normal”. Many hotels have been open supporting the essential workers, medical staff, and critical guests who use our facilities as a home away from home. We are proud to continue to support the vital businesses. We feel strongly that we are prepared to reopen to leisure business and would like this considered, Silva wrote.

Silva continued, “Most of the hotels in Delaware are small businesses, and many have taken on PPP loans to provide a short bridge to keep their hotels ready for the summer. Hotels will not be able to sustain cash flow under the current restrictions as these loans come to an end. This will result in closures and losses of many hotels, unable to recover from missing a key part of the tourist season.”

Gov. John Carney and state health officials have expressed concerns about large and hard-to-control crowds on beaches in the state that could be lured by the availability of short-term rentals.

While hotels have the ability to limit occupancy, short-term rentals of homes and apartments are more difficult to police, especially if non-family renters crowd into a unit after a night of parties. And none of this stops second homes and condos from becoming unauthorized sort-term rentals, critics of the current restrictions point out.

Crowded conditions in such spaces could lead to the spread of the virus, health officials fear.

See the text of the letter below:

Click to access DHLA-letter-May-19_2020-letter-to-Gov-Carney-Leisure-travel.pdf

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