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The Cleveland Hostel is waiting for travelers while they stay open through the coronavirus outbreak

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Posted at 7:36 AM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 07:36:20-04

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The cloudy view of downtown from The Cleveland Hostel’s rooftop sums up owner Mark Raymond’s predicament pretty well. He’s optimistic about the future but the clouds of uncertainty hover just above.

“We’re still accepting reservations, there just haven’t been any,” said Raymond. “It’s a matter of just hunkering down and riding it out.”

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The view from The Cleveland Hostel's rooftop at the end of March.

Raymond says in early March, international guests started canceling their reservations.

Ohio’s first cases were announced on March 9 and were quickly followed by cancellations for the Cleveland Film Festival, a long list of concerts, and the Cleveland Marathon two weeks later. Raymond says all those events would have helped fill up the rooms at his hostel in Ohio City.

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Pamphlets with Cleveland attractions, some canceled, still sit on racks at The Cleveland Hostel.

“We could really see [cancellations] the next day or that day, we’d have cancellations from those events,” said Raymond.

Winter is normally slow in Cleveland, which is why alternative Spring Break groups and a growing event calendar in the spring normally is when business starts to pick up for the hostel in late March/early April.

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The 15 rooms that can hold up to 60 people at The Cleveland Hostel were completely empty because of the coronavirus in April.

“We would have been pretty much full the last week,” said Raymond, referring to the usual traffic the last week of March. “But we were empty.”

That means thousands of dollars that are now walking through the door right now, meaning much of the hostel staff has been temporarily laid off until business picks back up again.

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Artwork and common-area decorations wait for travelers to return after the outbreak.

They’re hardly alone.

The Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association tells News 5 in an email that “more than 18,000 direct hotel jobs and 78,000 hotel-supported jobs have been lost in Ohio.”

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“We’re still accepting reservations, there just haven’t been any,” said Raymond.

That accounts for more than $2.4 billion dollars in lost earnings each week.

At the same time, roughly 33,000 small businesses are at risk because hotel occupancy across the nation and in Ohio is so low.

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Raymond says international travelers canceled first followed by Americans as it became more clear that travel wasn't going to be possible.

But even when the coronavirus has passed, Raymond says he hospitality industry’s recovery could lag behind.

“Even when things get back to normal, travel probably won't be the first thing on everybody's mind,” said Raymond.

Governor DeWine signed an Executive Order meant to help small businesses. You can find information about that here.