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Coronavirus forces local hotels to make adjustments, layoff employees

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The coronavirus is taking a toll on the hospitality industry, including hotels in the Tri-States.

The pandemic is forcing one hotel to make a number of changes in order to stay open.

The parking lot at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Quincy is empty.

That's because there's only a few guests staying there, due to the coronavirus.

Hotel officials said the entire hospitality industry tanking, like they've never seen before.

The door to the Fairfield Inn and Suites is open, but nobody is going in.

"It's devestating for the entire hospitality industry," General Manager Deb Carstens said.

Carstens said people aren't traveling and it's costing her hotel like she'd never imagined.

"We started seeing a decline in reservations and cancelations coming in early March and it's snowballed since then," Carstens said.

She said the business they'd usually get in one day, now takes four weeks to amount to.

"This room is completely empty, like most of them here in the hotel," Carstens said.

She said in order to stay open, she's had to make some tough adjustments.

"We've laid off several employees," Carstens said. "There just isn't work for them to do."

Amenities are also closed, breakfast is grab and go style and the hotel is being cleaned every day.

"Flat surfaces, door knobs, remotes, all the things that you would fully expect to be cleaned, we're using some pretty powerful disinfectants right now," Carstens said.

She said she's worried for the future, as most events and sports competitions the hotel depends on have been canceled.

"There's no blame in the game, at all," Carstens said. "It's just the fact that it's hitting our industry and hitting our industry incredibly hard."

She said there's nothing to do but wait and hope this ends soon, so she can get her employees back on the schedule.

"I've been here for 25 years," Carstens said. "The hardest two days of my entire career were simply the days I had to layoff my staff or reduce their hours. It was the hardest thing I've ever done."

The general manager said the hotel does plan to stay open through this.

Carstens said the pool and workout room are closed.

She said so far, she's laid off about a dozen people and they're also not hosting birthday parties or gatherings of more than 10 people.

Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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