Restaurant reservations climbed by 2% this week nationally, with a .4% increase for the state of Georgia. Georgia seems to be rapidly approaching pre-coronavirus levels, one day only being 3/4ths of what it was the year before. Overall, reservations on the national and Georgia level are down approximately 47% of what they were last year.
Big changes in Georgia two weeks ago, on August 15th. Governor Kemp announced an executive order that allows counties, cities, and government entities to put in place their own mask requirements. Effective until August 31st, mask order can be imposed wherever a county has reached more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over the past 14 days.
Restaurants and bars are being re-closed after a spike in COVID-19 cases. This is a comprehensive list of states that have re-closed or restricted their restaurants as of July 28th. To see details about how the states are re-restricting their restaurants, click this link to see the full article by Elazar Sontag.
- Iowa <– New this week
In the News
Hotel room occupancy across the state plummeted by 62%. More than 187,000 leisure and hospitality jobs went away in March and April, and the state lost more than $3 billion in travel spending from mid-April through mid-May.
The damage was even more severe in Savannah, where hotel occupancy in the city’s historic district sank to just 9% in April. Savannah was forced to cancel its world-renowned St. Patrick’s Day celebration and the annual Savannah Music Festival.
But gradually, there have been signs of business starting to pick up, spurred by the proactive efforts of state and local tourism promotion agencies to get visitors back.
In fact, the months of June and July saw year-over-year visitation records in Helen, a former logging community in the North Georgia mountains that resurrected itself decades ago to look like a Bavarian village.
Mark Jaronski, the state agency’s deputy commissioner overseeing tourism, said Georgians are now traveling 200 miles to 300 miles despite the pandemic. The goal of the new program is to promote in-state attractions as an alternative to traveling out of state.
“It’s been building,” Lipman said. “We’ve gotten almost up to capacity. We took out over half of our tables, and they’re over 8 feet apart. We have the patio open with six tables, and we’ve kind of reached the point where the staff can handle it. We’ve gone on 15-20-minute waits, and we were on a half an hour wait on a Saturday, which is great. It means we’re doing OK for 2020.”