SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With California officially reopening on June 15, Governor Newsom and Visit California are encouraging Californians to travel the state and spend their extra money locally in order to accelerate the state's economy.
Sacramento hotels like the Hyatt Regency are still not fully staffed yet because of the pandemic, but they hope to get there soon thanks to more California visitors.
When the pandemic first hit 15 months ago, the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Sacramento closed for just three months.
"Reopened in anticipation that the legislature would come back into session in the Capitol. Of course, that hasn't happened, still hasn't happened," said Brenda Kirian, the director of sales and marketing for Hyatt Regency Sacramento.
Prior to the pandemic, they used to be fully booked Tuesdays through Thursdays, relying on business from both the Capitol and the convention center across the street.
Now, they're usually fully booked on Saturdays and relying on local tourism.
"What can help the most is just leisure travel, just getting out of the house, spending the night in your own state, seeing things you've never seen before. It brings our staff back, and it makes all of the restaurants downtown, all of the little shops downtown, all of them to be able to reopen too," Kirian said.
According to Mike Testa, President and CEO of Visit Sacramento, hotels in this area were at about an 84% occupancy rate before the pandemic. At the lowest point in the pandemic, they were at 4%.
"We're slowly climbing back, we're not at that pre-pandemic level yet but, every week, occupancy ticks up a little bit and I think with this announcement on the 15th - I'm hoping the flood gates open and people start returning to those hotels," Testa said.
Testa's working on bringing a number of big events to the area this year that will fill more hotel rooms like the World's Strongest Man, Ironman, Aftershock and Farm-to-Fork, all of which are meant to boost the local economy.
"One visit brings back somebody working in the parking garage, it brings back restaurant workers, bartenders, little shops," Kirian said.