SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Thursday, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer called on Governor Gavin Newsom to issue guidance that would allow San Diego's hotel industry to resume hosting business meetings and conferences.
"It's incredibly important for the jobs that this industry represents and the bottom line of dollars to our city," Faulconer said.
San Diego tourism officials tell ABC 10News that the industry has lost an estimated $4 billion due to the pandemic thus far. About 22% of out-of-town visitors to San Diego typically come for business meetings or conferences. The loss of this business has led to the loss of more than 50,000 local hospitality jobs.
Thursday, Faulconer visited the Manchester Grand Hyatt to review the safety protocols they would put into place for business travelers. That includes plexiglass dividers, hand sanitizing stations, outdoor meeting spaces, and socially distanced seating.
"Seeing is believing," Faulconer said. "When you can see firsthand the remarkable precautions that our hotel industry has taken, the remarkable job that they have done with leisure travel, we can host business travel safely.”
Faulconer points out that California is the only state in the country that bans hotels from hosting businesses.
ABC 10News reached out to the California Department of Public Health. A spokesperson sent the following statement: "California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy is intentionally slow and stringent to help slow and stop the spread of COVID-19. Any setting where large scale, random mixing occurs presents a higher risk activity for the spread of COVID-19.
The state's public health guidelines are driven by data and science. This will continue. As the data evolves and science evolves we will update the guidelines and Blueprint accordingly. When we have specific updates to hotel and lodging guidance, we will alert the public and the media."