ASHLAND The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on commerce across the world, including the hospitality business.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association released figures in Kentucky: 7,377 direct hotel job have been lost and 37,025 total hotel industry-related jobs have been lost because of the pandemic.

Some of that loss has occurred in the region.

Cara Hedricks, director of sales at Delta Hotels by Marriott Ashland Downtown, said the hotel has suffered.

“We started seeing the impact last Monday. That was the first day I came in and really started to notice things were going to change drastically,” said Hedricks, citing cancellation of business travel as one reason.

“The government is on essential travel only, which cuts back on a lot of government guests, so we’ve seen a huge decline,” she said, noting two large conferences scheduled for March and April will be rescheduled for later in the year and the cancellation of shows at the Paramount Arts Center also have added to the decline.

“Unfortunately, this week we had to lay off quite a bit of our staff,” she said. “We have the greatest staff and they understand what we’re going through right now and we’re going to call them back, hopefully in a month, and we’ll all be back together as a team.”

Layoffs included staff in maintenance, housekeeping, laundry and food service.

“It’s definitely a challenge, for the hotel industry, but it’s a challenge we feel we’ll get through and come out on the other side,” she said.

Hedricks said the two conferences that canceled have rescheduled for later in the year and noted Paramount shows are expected to reschedule.

“A couple of groups that have to have a meeting in this quarter are doing teleconference meetings, but talking with all of them, they’re looking forward to coming back next spring,” she said.

Based in Dallas, Aimbridge Hospitality, the nation’s largest independent hotel investment and management firm, manages Boyd County’s Fairfield Inn and Days Inn, but representatives were unavailable for comment.

The manager of the Hampton Inn in Ashland was not available for comment.

The manager of the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Ashland declined to comment.

(606) 326-2661 |

lward@dailyindependent.com

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