More than 40 hotels in Puebla’s historic center — some of which have been operating for as long as 100 years — are on the verge of bankruptcy due to the coronavirus, says the president of the local hotel association.
Manuel Domínguez Gabián said the affected hotels, which employ 1,500 people in the state capital, have already cut back on staff, but low occupancy rates of around 5% aren’t helping ease the financial burden the pandemic has caused. Normally at this time of year occupancy would be around 65%.
“For the association, it is worrying that businesses that have been around for two generations are about to close. We would lose a part of our history,” Domínguez said.
Taking out loans would not suffice as they would only cover payroll, he says, and urged state and municipal authorities to step in and help.
The association predicts at least 10 hotels will permanently shutter by August unless the economy is reopened, especially in the commercial and residential Angelópolis district. Puebla is currently at the maximum risk level for the coronavirus under the federal government’s stoplight system.
One of the hotels that has dismissed more than 100 employees and closed is the Hotel Royalty, which has been in operation since 1943 and is located in front of Puebla’s cathedral. Domínguez says the Royalty hopes to reopen in January or February 2021 after remodeling and will hire back its staff.
Other independent hotels are considering selling to national chains that are more economically resilient, Domínguez said.
Fifteen hotels closed permanently at the beginning of June due to bankruptcy, and 300 people were let go.
As of Monday, Puebla had 14,349 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and had seen 1,799 deaths.