Local Hotel Industry Really Feeling The Coronavirus Pinch

Matt Briscoe

(Southside Light News) — The COVID-19 impact is leading area hotels into tricky waters and leaving the future looking uncertain. As of right now, a few local events are still booked for after May, but that all could change with a moments notice. Some hotel workers here locally are already facing the reality of layoffs, furloughs and life without a paycheck. 

Just how bad has it hit the hotel industry here locally? It is too early to tell exact numbers, but a poll of hotels conducted by the Southside Light on Tuesday shows that the impacts have already started to be felt.

Late last week Waves Resort out on North Padre Island said that they were closing their doors temporarily until Summer of 2021. 

The future does not look too promising for workers at the Omni Hotel downtown either. They have already experienced some layoffs and furloughs and it is feared only to get worse. 

“The implications of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry are unprecedented, and like every business, Omni Corpus Christi Hotel is making decisions about limiting short-term business impacts,” said Omni spokesperson Melissa Becker. “We staff our hotel according to business demand, and at this time, unfortunately, we’re unable to keep our entire workforce busy.” 

Some hotels like the Omni are working with their employees to get through these very strange and difficult times. 

“We informed some of our associates about the need to reduce hours, activate furloughs, and leverage PTO if available,” Becker said. 

But it doesn’t make it any easier. 

“We are the kind of people who work for low wages and limited hours anyway,” says John Rameriez who was recently laid off from another local property. “I mean most people don’t think of it like that when they are at the hotel on business or vacation.” 

But Becker knows that the real heart and soul of the hotel industry is the employees and staff make the experiences memorable. 

“Our associates are the heart of our business and we’ll continue to reassess and offer the best guidance we can for them and their families,” Becker says. 

But now those employees are wondering what exactly comes next for them.