California officials in San Francisco said Tuesday the state was open for business. On Thursday, Los Angeles County officials announced that bars will be allowed to reopen indoors at limited capacity. Gyms and museums will be allowed to welcome more patrons.
“You can safely go out in public again,” Eleni Kounalakis, California’s lieutenant governor, said in a virtual news conference speaking from San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Organized by the nonprofit organization Visit California, the news conference featured officials who encouraged Californians to vacation in-state, even if just for weekend getaways.
“In the travel and tourism industry, there was no ‘working from home’ and so we are starting 2021 with a significant deficit for this industry,” Kounalakis said. “The good news is we are opening back up.”
Californians are encouraged to get out and travel after the state’s tourism industry suffered $12 billion worth of losses after Gov. Gavin Newsom shut down the state.
“Just from June of 2020 through February of 2021, California lost nearly $12 billion in visitor spending from Californians leaving the state to vacation in other destinations. Mexico in particular, a billion dollars went to Mexico,” Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California, said.
The San Francisco Airport “lost more passengers than any airport in the U.S. due to the pandemic and is the slowest to recover,” Joe D’Alessandro, president of the San Francisco Visitors and Conventions Bureau, said.
Beteta estimates that it will take the state’s tourism industry roughly four years to recover and rebound after one year of lockdowns.
The U.S. Navy also announced on Tuesday that it was ending some COVID-19 restrictions for tens of thousands of San Diego-based sailors. For the first time since last year, they will be allowed to go to public beaches, eat at restaurants and go to bars. Restrictions for some on-base facilities will also be relaxed, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
More than 19,200 California businesses permanently closed last year as a result of the state’s shutdown, according to a Yelp report. The industries most impacted were restaurant, retail and shopping, bars and nightclubs, beauty, fitness and arts and entertainment.
Los Angeles businesses reportedly suffered the worst by sheer volume, initially reporting 7,500 permanent and 7,500 temporary closures, followed by San Francisco, San Diego and Riverside, according to last year’s Yelp analysis.
This article was originally posted on California businesses reopening, tourism trying to rebound from $12 billion loss
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