Updated: October 05, 2020 11:12 PM
Created: October 05, 2020 10:24 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — To many people in Rochester, the Hyatt Regency Hotel is a cornerstone for hospitality in the city's downtown. Monday the hotel temporarily suspended its operations until February.
With the pandemic still with us and the demand for hotel rooms dwindling, management decided to close the doors until things pick up again.
On a typical day, the common areas of the hotel would be buzzing with activity. All types of travelers would be found checking in or out, but all that changed. General Manager Jason Fulton says business has dropped.
"For us, we're going into that winter season. It's gonna be a lot slower. Airlines have certainly reduced travel, and with all the restrictions, this is the decision that makes sense," Fulton said.
News of the temporary shutdown came as a complete surprise to many. It was even mentioned in Monday's City Council meeting.
"As long as I can remember I don't ever remember the Hyatt Hotel closing down for the winter," City Council Member At-Large Malik Evans said.
The closure according to Fulton has a lot to do with current COVID-19 safety guidelines and restrictions. Limiting the size of large gatherings, and with the Rochester Convention Center still closed, adding to the problem.
"We got a ballroom that does up to 500 people so we can only do "one-tenth" of that," Fulton said. "We got 340 rooms in the hotel, and you know there's only demand for 30."
Fulton says employees have been furloughed for now, and have found employment at other hotels in the city. In the interim, management will take on a few projects inside the approximately 20,000 square foot building.
"This property was renovated just a few years ago, but moving forward we're going to focus on again a lot of details and making sure that once the demand is here we're ready to turn it on," said Fulton.
Current guests that were booked at the hotel have been taken care of, Fulton said.
"We're contacting every guest personally. We're letting them know we've secured rooms, and event space at The Strathallan, and everybody is going to be well taken care of," Fulton said.
Visit Rochester's President and CEO Don Jeffries released this statement saying, "We are saddened to learn of the Hyatt Regency Rochester's temporary closure, but we understand the limitations that are currently in place due to COVID-19 that contributed to the hotel's closure for the winter months."
News10NBC talked to a couple of restaurants in the area to see if the temporary closure of the hotel would affect them, and both said not too much. For them, business has been down anyway when it comes to out of town travelers.
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