First 2 downtown hotels close amid coronavirus pandemic

The Park Hyatt Chicago, 800 Michigan Ave., and The Peninsula, 108 E. Superior St., both suspended services in the interest of public health, according to statements on the hotels’ websites.

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The Chicago skyline.

As tourists cancel visits to Chicago over coronavirus fears, hotels have started cutting staff and some closing down.

Colin Boyle/Sun-Times file photo

Two luxury downtown hotels have stopped taking customers, citing public health concerns relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Park Hyatt Chicago, 800 Michigan Ave., and The Peninsula, 108 E. Superior St., both suspended services, according to statements on the hotels’ websites.

“The safety and well being of our guests and colleagues is always a top priority,” the Park Hyatt said, noting the hotel is no longer accepting room, restaurant, bar and other reservations until April 30.

The Peninsula gave no expected timeline but said it would update guests as soon as it can reopen.

Layoffs at Chicago-area hotels started around Monday, according to Michael Jacobson, CEO of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association.

“When you are in the teens on your occupancy rate, as many hotels now are, it’s hard to justify keeping the lights on,” he said at the time.

The Park Hyatt and Peninsula are the first two hotels to close since the coronavirus pandemic reached Chicago.

Event cancellations attributed to COVID-19 in the last two weeks have cost Chicago hotels an estimated 255,000 room nights worth of bookings.

Jacobson said his association has announced a “workforce redeployment policy” to help any employees who are laid off, though he could not provide a count of layoffs.

The program will help workers find jobs in the cleaning services that many hotels are hiring. “If you are a laid-off housekeeper, you have the skill sets to help companies whose services are required right now,” he said.

Contributing: David Roeder

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