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How convention centers, hotels, tourism will benefit from new COVID guidelines

Louisiana State Capitol (Source: WAFB)
Louisiana State Capitol (Source: WAFB)
Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 12:55 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday, April 27, that people can attend indoor and outdoor gatherings with looser restrictions.

Outdoor events won’t have any capacity limitations. Indoor event centers, conferences, and sporting events can go to 75% capacity or 100% if people are masked.

This is huge news for hotels and tourism.

“That would really open up some barriers for us that’s been closed for over a year now,” said Scott Michelet, general manager of Crowne Plaza.

Michelet said this will help an industry that has struggled tremendously over the past year.

“It just continues to build each day. It’s allowing us to bring in more employees. It’s allowing us to bring more people back, which to guests, the city, and economic development, it’s going to help with the city because we won’t be the only ones hosting,” Michelet explained.

Officials with Visit Baton Rouge say this will help stimulate the economy in more ways than one. President & CEO Paul Arrigo said the state has missed out on millions because of the pandemic.

“The last few months our weekend business has been stronger than our weekday business,” said Arrigo. “Most conventions are held during the weekday and leisure travel weekends. So, we really see this helping our weekday business when we need business right now.”

Officials expect things will pick up gradually over the next few months.

“I think the fall is going to turn around to as normal as we can expect. I think the remainder of the spring will do well and again, the travel, the pinned-up demand for travel, I think is going to affect us positively, absolutely,” Arrigo added.

With this new sense of hope, they believe this will help lead us to a better tomorrow.

“So, it’s going to be slow but it’s happening. That’s what’s most important. It’s happening,” Michelet added.

WAFB reached out to see how these new guidelines will impact future events at the Raising Cane’s River Center. Officials said they’re still reviewing the new guidelines and will determine what this will mean for the complex moving forward.

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