Hospitality and tourism leaders discuss way forward with DC-area reopening

A webinar featured discussion on the continuing challenges of reopening for the DC-area's hospitality industry, WTOP Ken Duffy reports.

With the D.C. area gradually reopening in the upcoming weeks, hospitality and tourism leaders joined a webinar panel to talk about the current roadblocks for the industry’s recovery and how to keep businesses afloat during the process.

Hosted by the Greater Washington Board of Trade, hospitality leaders, such as Kathy Hollinger with the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, shared their concerns on how to handle an employee who tests positive for COVID-19 without disrupting operations.

“I would say the biggest challenge right now is the inconsistency in guidelines,” Hollinger said.

When it comes to safety at establishments, Hollinger said she feels that there should be a shared responsibility between the restaurant operator and the customer, as “it takes a village around reopening.”

Jorge Perez, of MGM Resorts International, said a clear procedure is key when employees come down with the virus

“It’s the contact tracing, getting employees testing, sanitizing the space immediately and then having good, solid speaking points for your employees to set them at ease,” Perez said.

Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC, said one of the keys to recovery for the tourism business is focusing on certain markets, such as drivers who are likely avoiding air travel to get around.

“We want to market the fact that D.C. has a hundred free things to see and do, which will resonate with people who have budget issues but want to get out,” Ferguson said.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Ken Duffy

Ken Duffy is a reporter and anchor at WTOP with more than 20 years of experience. He has reported from major events like the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 2016 Election Night at Trump Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

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