Local hotels received a letter from the county on June 2 notifying them of a change to the San Diego County Health Order, effective immediately, that allows county hotels to only accept guests that are essential workers, homeless in need of shelter, isolating due to exposure to COVID-19 or in need of safe refuge due to risk of abuse or an unsafe residence. These changes to who can stay at a hotel comply with the county ‘stay at home’ order which requires people to remain at home except for travel to and from essential businesses or reopened businesses, or essential activities. Guests at hotels need to sign an official certification that they meet one of the categories.
The certification form that hotel guests must complete can be found here and states that one of the following categories is met:
- I am an essential worker needed to maintain the continuity of operations within San Diego county in one of the federal critical infrastructure sectors found in https://covid19.ca.gov/img/EssentialCriticalInfrastructureWorkers.pdf; or
- I am homeless and seeking shelter; or
- I have been exposed to COVID-19 and I am isolating myself from others; or
- My primary residence is unsafe due to the condition of the residence or because I am at risk of abuse or a household member accompanying me is at risk of abuse.
- And (if applicable), any person who will stay in my guest room is a member of my household.
Janine Zúñiga, Senior Management Analyst at the City Manager’s Office, said that, “Despite what the hotels may have [recently] received, they have been closed for personal travel since all non-essential businesses were closed. The City already has seen a great loss of transient hotel taxes.” And yet many hotels in town have continued to welcome guests.
Claudia Ludlow, GM of Glorietta Bay Inn, shares what this change means for the popular Inn, “Every reservation, we tell them about the letter and they are aware that they will not be able to get a room key without signing the certification form.” She also says that they do not have the right to question whether someone’s travel is essential, with the majority of guests paying for rooms with their company cards. Claudia admits that prices are fluctuating right now and compares the hotel industry to the airline industry in that sense.
The hardest part of the new guidelines since COVID-19 according to Claudia is, “the constant, quick change; receiving information and immediately adapting.” To help with this, Claudia shares that she looks toward both the San Diego Tourism Authority for broad changes and Mayor Bailey’s updates for Coronado specific information.
Claudia remains Coronado and small business focused, “We shut down our continental breakfast and coffee station, but now we are able to send out guests to the other small businesses around town for their breakfast and coffee needs.” After Coronado businesses began reopening a couple weeks ago, Claudia said she went up and down the street, making purchases at some of the stores, “it is all about local business support. This is one of the most essential things we can do and I speak not as just the GM but as someone who grew up in Coronado and loves this town.”
However, without the traffic of tourists that Coronado depends on, many business are still suffering – some before they even get started. Mike Tepper opened The Gallery & Hemp Life back in March and shares, “This is an essential business, but there’s no one out on the streets.”
Other business owners echo a similar sentiment. Sam Frederick, owner of Little Sam’s Island & Beach Fun, has been in business since 1993 and says he has not seen anything like this. “Without tourists in the hotels, weekdays are horrible for business. The hotels are losing their reservations. You wish people could still come and visit.”