The pandemic’s impact on hospitality

By Chris Vizcarra/El Inde

Marie France Vizcarra has been in the hospitality business for over 25 years. She started out as a front desk agent, got promoted to a front office manager and today, she works as a General Manager, running the Hampton Inn Tucson Airport property in Tucson.

Vizcarra, who is also my mom, thought she had seen at all in the hospitality industry — but then, the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Her hotel as well as other hospitality businesses have had to adjust on the fly and change their methods of running their businesses. Whether they’ve had to down on staff or spend more of the budget on cleaning and protective gear, their methods have changed. This pandemic has also meant that Vizcarra and other managers have had to put in more hourly work at the front desk, among others.

“We had to let most of the staff go because we just don’t have the occupancy,” Vizcarra said. “We don’t have rooms to clean for people, (so the employees) are furloughed at this moment, because we do expect to bring everybody back when everything goes back to normal.”

Given the current situation, the Hilton hotels have offered to open up rooms to medical workers who may need a place to stay. Vizcarra has supported this effort, saying she is more than willing to open up her hotel’s rooms for these medical professionals.

Vizcarra said how some doctors and nurses now aren’t able to get back home and she’d heard that some of them were even sleeping in their cars. “I feel like it’s the least we can do to help the health care industry right now, because they are putting their lives on the line for us to treat the patients,” she said.

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