The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore business leaders detail ongoing fallout from coronavirus pandemic

National Aquarium

By Phil Davis 
July 15, 2020

Business leaders took part in a virtual forum July 15 hosted by the Greater Baltimore Committee to discuss the state of the city’s restaurant, tourism and travel industries.

Al Hutchinson, President and CEO of the nonprofit promotional group Visit Baltimore, said the organization has had to cut 41% from its budget for fiscal year 2021, down to $7.8 million.

“The pandemic has really decimated the travel and tourism industry here in Baltimore City,” Hutchinson said, adding that data suggests the pandemic “is about 10 times worse” for related sectors compared to after the attacks of 9/11.

Much of the forum echoed what is happening across the country with the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses are struggling to keep their doors open and their workers employed as restrictions on crowd sizes limit their ability to generate revenue.

John Racanelli, the CEO of the National Aquarium, said the Baltimore institution has lost about $12 million in revenue since officials first began putting restrictions on indoor gatherings and businesses in March.

He said establishments like the aquarium and The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore also face unique challenges because their operating costs still remain high, even when their doors are closed, because the animals still need regular care.

He said that while the aquarium has seen a steady line of visitors ever since it reopened to 25% occupancy earlier this month, it was “still operating at a loss.” He said the aquarium has had to furlough 116 employees to help offset the loss in revenue and is “slowly, but steadily bringing them back.”

Juan Webster, general manager of the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore, said the Fells Point hotel has been impacted by a number of wedding and other special event cancellations and postponements, which has led to “significantly reduced staffing levels.”

“We’ve really thrown our job titles out the window and everyone has been encouraged to roll up their sleeves,” Webster said.

To read the complete story, visit The Baltimore Sun website.

Source: The Baltimore Sun

Also see:

COVID-19: GBC Coverage and Response

COVID-19 Resources and Helpful Websites

Special Update on State and Federal Legislation Related to COVID-19

Coverage of GBC Member companies’ philanthropic responses to COVID-19