The Marcus Corporation Marcus Hotels & Resorts division is closing a select number of its hotels across the Midwest, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Milwaukee hotels included in the closures are the Hilton Milwaukee City Center and The Saint Kate - The Arts Hotel. Both hotels are closed as of Wednesday and will remain closed for the week.
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"The safety and well-being of our guests and associates is our number one priority," said Michael R. Evans, president of Marcus Hotels & Resorts. "The lodging industry is facing unprecedented challenges due to the nationwide COVID-19 pandemic. In light of these challenges and our current business levels, we have made the difficult decision to close a select number of properties across our portfolio."
The Hotel industry is taking a substantial hit due to COVID-19. According to information from the American Hotel and Lodging Association, there are 41,291 Hotel Operations jobs in the state. They anticipate 18,168 will be laid-off, which is a 44 percent reduction. An incredible hit, but the timing may be more significant.
"We're coming out of that slow season where we weather the weather. Pun intended," Colin Walsh, President of the board of the Greater Milwaukee Hotel Lodging Association, said. "We do our best to look forward to spring and a prosperous summer. As things are slowing down right at the beginning of our season, if we're going to call it that, it's tough."
Events in the comings months are starting to be postponed, including Summerfest. There is no word on what could happen to the Democratic National Convention in July, which is expected to draw some 50,000 people to Milwaukee.
But Walsh remains optimistic about the industry.
"I think travel is going to return," Walsh said. "It's a critical part of our world. Is it going to be overnight? No. The reality is, people will get back to their ordinary lives once this passes, and traveling is a big piece of that."
Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Wisconsin, The Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma, and The Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel in Nebraska are also included in the Marcus Corporation closures.
- The Marcus Corporation hopes the closures will not last for an extended period of time.