Photo by Nick Wong

What a difference a day makes. And, with each passing day, the war against COVID-19 inten- sifies. The number of casualties increases, the fear intensifies and our lives change inalterably.
In only a few short weeks, the world as we know it has forever changed. Who could have ever imagined that we would be living through what seems like a bad science-fiction movie? No individual or business has been spared by the onslaught, with many businesses forced to close, leaving operators to question how they will pay their bills. Just as previous events such as 9/11 changed the scope of life as we know it, a new normal emerges.

For the hotel industry, the fall-out is seismic. According to stats from STR, as of April 16, 14.5 per cent of Canadian hotel rooms were closed, representing 66,000 out of 450,000 rooms. And in a year-over-year comparison, the industry reported an 81.2-per-cent drop in occupancy to 12 per cent, a 33.8-per-cent drop in ADR to $101.34 and an 87.6-per-cent decrease in RevPAR to $12.17.

As we navigate the new normal, we continue to learn new life lessons and turn increasingly to government for direction and financial aid to get us through this unprecedented experience. Through the despair, we’ve been surprised by our capacity to care, realizing we gain strength by standing together.

No one has been spared by this pandemic and in some ways, COVID-19 has become the great equalizer. As our businesses become impacted and vulnerable, we come to realize it’s only by working together that we can survive and emerge stronger.

Closer to home, the publishing industry has been severely impacted by the health crisis. As a result,
KML has had to make changes in the way our business operates. Since March 12th, our staff has been working remotely, taking advantage of technology to help us stay connected and creative. In an effort to keep our readers informed of the myriad changes fuelled by COVID-19, we increased the frequency of Hospitality Headlines e-newsletter and made the leap to a digital publication for the short term (May, June and July/August issues). Though this decision makes sense on many fronts, it’s nonetheless a huge departure as it represents the first time our magazine has been forced to suspend any of its print editions in our 30-year history. Lastly, and unfortunately, like so many businesses we’ve also had to lay off a few of our staff for the next few months until we return to “normal.” Till then, let’s do our part to work together, support one another and, more importantly, let’s hope this crisis has given us pause to learn some hard truths and lessons about what’s really important in our lives. And, let’s hope we don’t soon forget them. Stay safe.

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