I have attended the AAHOA Convention & Trade Show before. It is a great event. That is why it saddened me to read yesterday that the event will now be a virtual event after the host state, Florida, saw a significant spike in new COVID-19 infections. I live in Florida in Hillsborough County where the number of cases has gone up as well. This week we were told we must wear masks inside most businesses. We are starting to go backwards instead of forwards.
I am not a scientist but I have read enough over the past few months to know that social distancing and mask wearing can do a lot to slow down and even stop the spread of COVID-19. Those Floridians (and others) who have not yet gotten that message have been living on another planet. Here in Florida there are too many people who believe you should not have to wear a mask and who believe we are back to normal when it comes to congregating to have a good time. There have been hundreds of recent reports of bars and restaurants not adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. (Remember the images of spring break crowds on the beaches?)
What really pisses me off here is that the acts of certain individuals—folks who are clueless about our industry and careless about their fellow human beings—are making it very difficult for our industry to recover. Thousands of hoteliers, suppliers and others were prepared to attend the AAHOA Convention & Trade Show. I don’t know the exact economic loss, but it must be in the millions—thousands of room nights, the loss of work for area employees, airline losses, etc.
Yes, the crazy contagiousness of COVID-19 is partly to blame but a direct line must be drawn between the carelessness of some and the economic impact on our industry. All in our industry should be shouting from the rooftops about it.