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Corona Economics

Orlando’s Ritz-Carlton closing for two months

The closure sends a message about the anticipated minimum length of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando, one of Florida’s highest-rated landmark hotels, is telling guests that it will be closing for two months starting Wednesday because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The resort’s advisory sends a stark message to anyone hoping that Florida’s recovery might be swift from the coronavirus-caused collapse of the tourism and hospitality economies.

The towering luxury Ritz-Carlton, situated between Orlando International Airport, the International Drive corridor, and the theme park district, features 582 rooms, an 18-hole Greg Norman-designed golf course and a hotel spa that twice was voted number one in USA Today reader polls.

“Due to the unprecedented circumstances, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes has made the prudent decision to temporarily suspend operations from March 25, 2020 through May 27, 2020,” The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes advised in an email that went out to its clientele Tuesday. “We wanted to share with you that we have cancelled your upcoming reservation with us. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and sincerely appreciate your understanding in this unique situation.”

As the tourism and hospitality economy continues to grind to a halt, uncertainty surrounds the duration of the shutdown. While many health and business experts caution that the crisis could last for months, some officials are hoping for a swifter resumption of normal.

President Donald Trump indicated Monday night that he expects the country to reopen in weeks, not months. That comes as he contemplates what to do when his advisory for people to stay at home if possible for 15 days comes to a scheduled conclusion Monday. His statements drew criticism from public health experts, who suggested Trump risks making a dangerous mistake if he sets up a conflict between public health and the nation’s economic well-being, given how unlikely it is that the threat posed by the virus will subside in another week.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has refused pressures from some lawmakers and others to follow the leads of 17 other states so far and issue a statewide stay-at-home order for Florida, indicating that the private sector and individuals would be doing that on their own.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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