TUALATIN VALLEY, Ore. — This week, 54 hotels in Washington County were given $10,000 checks to help bridge that gap during the COVID-19 pandemic as many wait for word on more federal or state assistance. Many hotels have seen business drop drastically and for some, the future is uncertain.
On Tuesday, staff with the Washington County Visitors Association hand-delivered $10,000 checks to each of the 54 hotels. The hope is that the money will help hotels pay for whatever needs they have.
Lawanda Jeffers is the General Manager and part owner of the Comfort Inn and Suites in Tualatin. She said she’s grateful for the money.
“I instantly started tearing up, instantly, and the only thing I could really say was thank you very much. There was no real words,” said Jeffers.
“This $10,000 helps me keep staff members employed,” she said.
Carolyn McCormick, President of the Washington County Visitors Association, said the money is coming from a reserve fund that was established eight years ago.
“We established a reserve fund for difficult times and today we are in difficult times,” McCormick said.
She said the money will help hotels over the next couple of weeks, equating to 445 hotel rooms a night for the next 14 nights at the average rate right of $90 a night.
Right now, any help is welcome for Jeffers and others in the hotel industry. Jeffers said what she’s experienced in the last couple weeks, is like nothing she’s ever seen in her 30-plus years in the business.
Jeffers said her hotel typically runs 85%-95% full. In fact, December and January were record-breaking months. But now, Jeffers said she’s barely scraping by with 15-20 rooms a night. That’s about 25%-30% of her available rooms. That is trickling down to staff members at the hotel.
“For me one of the hardest parts is having to tell my staff I don’t have work for them day-to-day. That’s extremely hard for me,” said Jeffers.
She said she typically has 16 staff members. But that number has dwindled to just four.
Meantime, McCormick said she’s hoping other associations in the state and region step up to the plate to help hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
“It might be six feet apart right now, but we need to be shoulder to shoulder,” said McCormick.