Coronavirus Concerns Impact Area Hotels

DULUTH, Minn.– As the warm weather approaches, hotels in the Twin Ports would normally be gearing up for their busiest time of the year. But concerns over Coronavirus have brought business for hotels and resorts to a halt.

The governors of Wisconsin and Minnesota consider hotels an essential business during the Coronavirus pandemic. But not many visitors are checking in to stay, while the hospitality industry has also had to shut down their bars and restaurants.

It’s been slow, we’re holding our own but it’s been really quiet,” said Barker’s Island Inn General Manager Shannon Olson.

Superior’s Barker’s Island Inn has seen their staff shrink from around 70 employees to just eight. They also had to close their pool and breakfast bar.

“You can’t sit and cry about it,” said Olson. “It is what it is, it’s happening and we just have to keep moving forward. And we just have to keep making strides so that all of these businesses survive.”

The hotel is practicing social distancing by having only a couple employees on a shift. And they are wiping down doorknobs, light switches, and the front desk.

Barker’s Island Inn is trying some new ideas to offer their guests. They are now selling food and beer from their restaurant at their front desk. The hotel also has to-go breakfasts, made from pre-packaged foods like cereal and yogurt.

Pier B Resort in Duluth has also seen the impact from the Coronavirus. Forcing them to close down their restaurant and lower the number of staff on hand.

The general manager at Pier B says they know the pandemic has been a situation never seen before.

It’s unprecedented,” said John Driscoll, General Manager of Pier B.

“In our industry and our economy and I think the hospitality industry is all doing the best they can to work with a very difficult and challenging problem.”

Along with cleaning surfaces like doorknobs and elevator buttons, the hotel is taking extra steps to keep rooms clean. Staff are taking the time to clean each room twice before a new guest checks-in.

Pier B still has most of their amenities open, including being able to make s’mores outside.

Both hotels will remain open and are still taking calls for reservations.

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