Fewer people are traveling because of coronavirus fears, and that’s having an impact on local hotels.

“We have seen an incredible impact as far as our occupancy percentages,” Kate Allison, director of sales for the Hampton Inn by Hilton at 1601 E. Cumberland St., said Thursday. “However, we are still open for business and we are still getting reservations.”

There has been a significant decrease in occupancy since Gov. Tom Wolf issued a stay-at-home order for the majority of Pennsylvania residents and workers to curtail the spread of COVID-19, Allison said.

She did not provide specific guest numbers or percentages.

The majority of people staying there are corporate guests, she said – most of them are healthcare workers, government employees at Lebanon VA Medical Center, or construction workers for some projects that are still moving forward during the statewide shutdown.

“We’re seeing very minimal transient business – your day-to-day visiting people,” she said.

Representatives from two other Lebanon County hotels did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

At Hampton Inn, Allison said the virus has altered the way the hotel operates.

“Per the health code and Hilton brand standards during this crisis, our breakfast bar is closed. Everyone is just grabbing grab-and-go bags,” she said. “The pool is closed, the gym facility is closed. Pretty much all public spaces have been closed.”

The hotel also has limited housekeeping services for the time being “for the protection of our staff,” she said. That means they’re still providing fresh towels daily, she said, but they’re not entering occupied rooms for the usual thorough cleaning.

Staff who are interacting with guests, such as front desk employees, are wearing gloves and masks, she added. Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers are “all over the place,” she said, and public spaces, including elevators, are being cleaned regularly.

“We are working as hard as we can to protect our guests and employees,” Allison said. “We’re trying to be as hospitable as we can.”

Read all of LebTown’s COVID-19 coverage here.

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Tom has been a professional journalist for nearly four decades. In his spare time, he plays fiddle with the Irish band Fire in the Glen, and he reviews music, books and movies for Rambles.NET. He lives with his wife, Michelle, and has four children: Vinnie, Molly, Annabelle and Wolf.


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