Welcome news could be coming for Terrace hotels and motels, but months of very few or no visitors have taken a toll.
“The books are all empty, people have started coming up in Terrace due to LNG and projects around but it it’s overall completely dead,” said Noman Khan, Days Inn by Wyndham Terrace manager.
“We are very much hoping that June is going to be better.”
If COVID-19 transmission rates remain low in B.C., residents could begin travel throughout the province as early as June.
The Days Inn was one of many hotels forced to close due to the pandemic. It shut its doors from March 20 to April 20.
Hotels were deemed an essential business at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis and were allowed to remain open if they could meet public health guidelines. However, closing the border to international travellers and telling domestic travellers to stay home has decimated visitor numbers.
The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) said that more than 400 hotels have been closed and more than 62,000 employees have been laid off in the province.
But airlines are set to increase service to Terrace, and travel to the northwest could see an increase in June.
The BCHA is concerned that due to COVID-19 many hotels lack the financing on hand to reopen and that existing relief programs are not enough.
“With our industry crippling, it is time for the government to step up and announce a relief measure that will allow this sector to survive,” said Ingrid Jarrett, BCHA chief executive officer in a media release.
The Days Inn by Wyndham Terrace has applied for the Federal Emergency Wage Subsidy Program, which is designed to help businesses and charities affected by COVID-19 by subsidizing employee wages by up to 75 per cent for up to 12 weeks.
Khan agrees that the current funding is not adequate but given the massive scale of the situation, but does not blame the government if there is no extra aid.
“Of course it’s not enough,” said Khan. “This is a pandemic, the overall situation is very high so we are with the government, which direction they are going, so far we are okay with that. There is nothing they can do.”
“This is something that is out of everyone’s hands and we have to live with that.”