California Gov. Gavin Newsom was the nation’s first governor to issue a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19. He gradually started lifting the orders in May, allowing retail stores and restaurants to reopen. He soon added churches and hair salons with restrictions.
With COVID-19 cases in the state still growing, the tourism industry is trying to balance how to implement safety measures to control a pandemic without ruining the fun. Stay-at-home orders are estimated to have cost the state economy $72 billion in revenue from tourism and more than 600,000 hospitality jobs, according to Visit California, the state’s tourism marketing organization. The list of businesses cleared to reopen recently included movie theaters, bars and gyms and is the most expansive yet, though counties have the ultimate say on which stores and services can open their doors. In Southern California, cities relaxed social distancing rules this week to allow sunbathing and other passive activities at Laguna Beach, San Clemente and Seal Beach. Previously, visitors could swim, run and surf but couldn’t stay in one place. Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County’s public health director, urged businesses that choose to reopen to closely follow the social distancing protocols for doing so.
Today on AirTalk, we discuss the latest developments to the state’s tourism industry, how the pandemic has impacted the industry and efforts to bounce back. Do you have questions or thoughts? Join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722.
With files from the Associated Press
Adam Burke, interim CEO of LA Tourism and Convention Board
Lynn S. Mohrfeld, president and CEO of the California Hotel and Lodging Association (CHLA)