Oddly, it’s a good feeling to realize there’s only one way to go but up and that’s where we are with hotel statistics this week. 

It appears we hit rock bottom April 5-11 when hotel occupancy was at 21.2 percent, a decrease of 66.9 percent over the same period last year; and room revenue was at $547,091, a decrease of 76.4 percent over 2019.

For April 12-18, occupancy was at 21.5 percent, a 65.2 percent decrease over last year and revenue at $565,702, a decrease of 74.7 percent. Average daily rate was at $60.92, 30.1 percent less than last year; and room demand was 9,286, a decrease of 63.8 percent.

It’s clearly rough out there for the leisure and hospitality industry but we should begin to see improvement as other businesses that serve travelers begin reopening in phases after the local stay-at-home orders expire May 4. 

Although the stay-at-home orders for Springfield and Greene County were extended until May 4, another bit of good news is restrictions on some retailers were relaxed, another indicator that the impact of the pandemic is beginning to ease. 

The extended orders contain an amendment allowing businesses which sell at retail, including those which otherwise do not qualify as an essential business, to take orders by telephone, online or by any other ordering system in which the order is not made in person. The amendment also allows businesses to fulfill orders by shipping, delivery or curbside pickup. Previously, only businesses deemed essential were able to operate in this manner. Because of the high level of personal contact involved with certain services, such as auto detailers, pet groomers and hair and nail salons, such businesses are still not allowed to open other than to fulfill orders by shipping, delivery or curbside pickup.

It’s not a huge step but it is a step forward. 

As the economy begins recovering, we encourage you to do what you can to support local businesses so they can remain viable and are available when the city’s tourism industry begins its recovery. Those restaurants, retailers, attractions, hotels and other businesses are key tourism assets that help create the memorable experiences people leave with after visiting Springfield and the surrounding area.

It’s unlikely things will return to normal anytime soon and what that normal will be is anyone’s guess but we will recover and the tourism industry will continue to be a keystone in the area’s economic well being.