“My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a big influence on a people’s decision to travel and where they go. In the past, holidays are big business for the hospitality industry. Hotel rates could easily double due to high demand. But not this year.
In Hawaii, the lack of tourism has caused shops and restaurants to close down. And hotels that rely on tourism have struggled. Before the pandemic, as many as 30,000 visitors arrived a day. That dropped to fewer than 500 in March, after strict travel rules were put in place.
Hawaii eased some of those travel restrictions in October, allowing tourists to visit the islands again. However, it’s not back to normal.
In this installment of our series “My Economy,” we spoke with Thomas Fairbanks, owner and innkeeper at The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono in Maui. Fairbanks has been in the hotel business for almost 50 years.
“So, it’s kind of my life,” said Fairbanks.
Fairbanks runs The Old Wailuku Inn with his wife, Janice, whom he met 47 years ago while working in the industry.
“Right now, business is very slow because of the COVID going on,” said Fairbanks.
Before the pandemic, Fairbanks was seeing about 80% occupancy. Now that the state is reopened, his bed-and-breakfast is only about 10% filled — but he is going to take what he can get.
“We always have to feel hopeful,” said Fairbanks. “Otherwise, its not worth getting up and keeping the doors open.”
Let us know how your economy is doing using the form below, and your story may be featured on a future edition of “My Economy.”
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?
The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.
What kind of help can small businesses get right now?
A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.
What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?
New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.
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