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Hotels and out-of-state travelers during COVID-19

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

CHARLESTON, W.V. (WOWK) – Holiday Inn and Suites in South Charleston is usually bustling with guests. But now, it’s empty.

“Three weeks ago, we started to see the effects hit in terms of occupancy,” says Regional Manager for the hotel chain, Tim Kuhlman. “Business dropped about 70% in three days.”

In 72 hours, this staff dealt with dozens of cancellations; and now most of that staff is gone too.

“On staff at this property we have seven people working; at the other hotel, as little as two,” said Kuhlman.

Kuhlman says the company is trying to come up with creative ways to support the people they’ve had to lay off.

“We plan on doing spaghetti dinners to give to the employees not with us right now,” he said.

Even though the parking lot outside looks bare, the few cars you do see have ‘out-of-state’ license plates.

“We’ve seen a lot of people traveling through, and then we have a few people who are staying in the hotel as a residence to wait this out,” said Kuhlman.

Wait it out, as the State of West Virginia continues to practice social distancing under the executive ‘Stay At Home’ order.

“We are advising them to behave like West Virginians and under our directives,” said Dr. Sherri Young. “That means if you are coming here, you are welcome. But we ask that you self-isolate, just like we are asking of everyone.”

“We welcome all those, all the time, to the great State of West Virginia,” said Governor Jim Justice. “But in this situation, I want our local health officials to be alerted to the fact that these people are supposed to self quarantine for 14 days.”

Hotels, struggling.

Travelers, stuck.

As we all ride out this pandemic together.

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