COVID-19 cancellations causing RI’s hospitality industry to lose millions

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – As Rhode Islanders await new restrictions coming from Governor Gina Raimondo on Thursday, those in the hospitality industry are fearing what’s to come after a brutal few months.

“I think the hospitality industry is really walking a fine line. We’re all Rhode Islanders and we want Rhode Island to be safe and we want people to stay healthy, but for us, it’s just been one blow after another and this is particularly disappointing because, you know, we were starting to see a little bit of activity coming out of the summer.”

Kristen Adamo, CEO of Go Providence, said the industry is already in a bad spot, and now more restrictions are looming just in time for the holiday season.

“We actually had a lot of big things planned for the holiday season to get people out, get them spending money, and, you know, we have to take these precautions so we’ll do what we need to do, but it’s a disappointment,” Adamo said. “A lockdown is particularly difficult in the holiday season. With hotels, with retail, and in particular, restaurants. Thanksgiving is a big restaurant holiday, Christmas Eve is a big restaurant holiday. We are very nervous about the impact it’ll make.”

Since the pandemic shuttered big events in March, the hospitality industry has been dealing with canceled event after canceled event.

“Just the meetings, conventions, and sporting events in the Dunkin Donuts Center and Convention Center, we’ve lost about $38 million in direct spending on canceled business, and another $23 million on tentative business that we probably would have booked. So, we lost $60 million.”

But Go Providence is trying to look ahead. Adamo and her team are working on marketing plans once there’s a vaccine to get people to go out and spend money again. In the meantime, she said, you can support businesses online or even plan a trip for 2021.

“Why can’t you book and pay for your hotel rooms now? And why can’t you go and get restaurant gift cards online? Plan your mini staycation for March or April or May when things get better and things get warmer.”

In 2021, there will be an extended restaurant week in Providence, starting on January 10 and lasting until February 6.

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island, Warwick