December 4th, 2020

California’s status of the Corona Virus – 4th Quarter Report not looking good for Tourism Industry.

December 3, 2020

Dear Industry Partners,

The late-year surge of coronavirus cases has unfortunately arrived as feared, and California responded today with more restrictions that will further distress the tourism industry across the state, including restaurants and hotels.

It is another disappointing turn in a pandemic entering its 10th month. Despite the hard work, sacrifices and innovation of tourism businesses and their employees throughout the state, the rising caseload and growing pressure on the healthcare system has prompted a near shutdown for the final weeks of 2020.

Specifically:

  • Residents of areas in which hospital Intensive Care Unit availability has fallen below 15% will be required to stay at home, and most businesses will have to close or operate at severely limited capacity for at least three weeks.
  • The regional stay-at-home rules kick in Friday in 23 counties, mostly in the Central Valley and Southern California, but will spread statewide later this month based on caseload and hospital trends.
  • Hotels can remain open, although the order announced today bans non- essential travel statewide.
  • Restaurants in the impacted regions will be limited to takeout and delivery only.
  • Campgrounds, wineries, breweries, museums, zoos, family entertainment centers and aquariums must close.
  • Retail operations will be limited to 20% of capacity.
  • Ski resorts can remain open with industry protocols but must close food and beverage services.
  • Schools currently open are allowed to remain open.

With the onset of colder weather, this caseload surge has swiftly moved across the country. The good news is California’s seven-day caseload per 100,000 residents is 11th-best of the 50 states. But the vast increase of the past few weeks – there’s been an 86% increase in hospitalizations in the past 14 days – has rightly raised alarm. New cases emerging post-Thanksgiving are likely to further tax hospital and ICU capacity.

Public health officials project four in five hospital beds will be occupied by Christmas week and that the pandemic could overwhelm healthcare capacity in some regions of California without a turnaround.

The governor’s actions come on the heels of regional restrictions imposed by local governments in Los Angeles and Bay Area counties. In some cases, those local orders are even more restrictive than the statewide order.

The latest wave of cases also has driven consumer sentiment to levels not seen since the post-July Fourth spike. Nearly three in five Californians – 57% – now list themselves as risk averse.

California now stands apart from most every other state in several respects.

Meetings: California has not issued guidance for even small business meetings, distinguishing it from every other state. Notably, Las Vegas now allows meetings for up to 50 guests or 25% capacity, whichever is smaller. While larger meetings are not advised now given the health data, the absence of guidance makes it impossible for California hotels and destinations to have sales conversations about future group meetings.

Hotels: California’s rules are in sync with Oregon and Washington, but today’s restrictions are otherwise unmatched on the West Coast.

Restaurants: While a few California counties, including Los Angeles, had restricted restaurants to take-out and delivery only, today’s action extends that potentially statewide. Orders in most other western states allow at least some inside dining.

Theme parks: Theme parks and large attractions remain closed and continue to lay off thousands of workers. The state thresholds guiding their reopening – based on county caseloads and test positivity rates – appear unobtainable until sometime in 2021. Other states, notably Florida, have allowed theme parks to operate at limited capacity for months.

Sports: California families are taking extended trips to Arizona and other nearby states so young people can participate in youth, high school and college sports.

Youth and high school sports are essentially shut down in California. The San Francisco 49ers football team is prohibited from playing at its Santa Clara County stadium – even with no fans – and must travel to Arizona for home games.

Visit California will continue foundational search engine marketing to ensure consumers planning their next California trip at the appropriate time can find our content. However, with travel essentially halted in California, we are pausing some of Visit California’s marketing programs, including:

  • “See You Soon” social campaign
  • “Never Normal” online TV
  • “Safe Travels” online TV
  • “Calling All Californians” digital campaign

While we’re disappointed to pause campaigns that were delivering much-needed revenue to the state’s tourism businesses, this pause will allow us to push an additional $1.6 million into the next wave of recovery when people are allowed to travel again.

I’m hopeful these restrictions amount to the last push of this terrible pandemic. The prospects for a vaccine landing in the coming weeks look better all the time.

Thank you for your support and resilience during this time.

Be Well,

Caroline Beteta
President & CEO
Visit California

Source: Visit California