COVID-19 Updates and Resources from the RTA

The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak. 

As our elected leaders and public health officials aggressively work to contain infections, the RTA continues to work as an advisor to travelers and an advocate for regional businesses and the travel industry. We’ve heard from many of our partners and understand the challenges your business is facing, as well as your need to appropriately advise your customers and clients.

 

Industry Guidance for Promoting the Health and Safety of All Travelers

PDF Cover graphic for Travel in the New NormalThe U.S. Travel Association, the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.6 trillion in economic output and supports 15.8 million American jobs, was developed in close collaboration with health and medical professionals, and with organizations throughout the broader travel industry: hotels/resorts, airports, airlines, attractions, restaurants, rental cars, meeting venues, event producers, travel advisors and others. It also builds upon and aligns with the White House and CDC guidelines for "Opening Up America Again."

We will modify the guidance as the public health issue evolves and we will continue to work with medical and health professionals, government officials and travel leaders across the industry to prioritize the health and safety of travelers and travel employees.

Read more...

 

 

 

 

 

Washington State is Open!

Updated July 29, 2021 

Washington state has lifted its COVID-19 restrictions on social distancing and capacity limitations. However, the State strongly recommends King County residents 5-years and older, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in indoor public settings.
 

Can I sit at the bar or go to the movies?

Bars, restaurants, movie theaters and other businesses can resume business as usual without restrictions, unless they require it. 

Do I need to social distance?

There will be no physical distancing requirements, but the state maintains that businesses retain the right to make their own rules, such as requiring customers to wear masks.

Do I have to wear a mask?

The guidance strongly recommends King County residents 5-years and older, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in indoor public settings.

This extra layer of protection is intended for settings like grocery stores, restaurants, retail, theaters, and entertainment establishments, where people can enter freely. Washington State already requires unvaccinated people to wear masks in indoor public settings, although in stores and other public spaces there is no practical way to know who is and is not vaccinated. For this reason, universal masking is a simple, effective, and reliable way to help us all stay safer as we monitor the current increasing trends. 

Businesses also retain the right to require customers to wear masks, so check with them before you go.

Should I travel?

The state is following guidance from the CDC for travel.

Restrictions for traveling depend on if you are fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated people are required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas, like a ferry or top deck of a bus.

People who are not full vaccinated must take a COVID-19 test 1-3 days before their trip and are encouraged to check in with the COVID-19 restrictions at their destination. The CDC recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing when traveling.

Do I need to prove I'm vaccinated?

It’s possible some activities will require negative COVID-19 tests or proof of vaccination, but it’s not a state mandate.

The state recommends that people test negative or provide proof of vaccination for large indoor and outdoor events, but it is not required. Large indoor events are defined as any event with more than 10,000 simultaneous participants located in an indoors enclosed space.

Large indoor events are restricted to 75 percent capacity, unless vaccination verification is occurring. If vaccination verification is occurring prior to entry, and the venue requires all attendees be vaccinated, there are no capacity restrictions. 

The state plans to reevaluate the restrictions on large indoor events on July 31, 2021.

 

 

 

Cruise & Airline Industry

Air Traffic: Access SEA Airport’s weekly dashboard of airport activity for more information. SEA is continuing to see an expansion of routes, including international. See these links for nonstop service routes for domestic and North America markets and international markets.

Cruising: Alaska Cruise Season will Return in July

President Biden signed the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, essentially providing a way to circumvent the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) restrictions for cruise ships transporting passengers between the State of Washington and the State of Alaska. Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and NCL have all announced cruise restart plans for Alaska this summer, with Serenade of the Seas leading the pack with cruises beginning in July 2021. Serenade of the Seas will begin sailing on July 19, 2021, and Ovation of the Seas will begin sailing on August 13, 2021.

Cruise lines will still need to meet the CDC Conditional Sailing Order requirements before sailing can resume. 

  • Ships can bypass the required simulated test voyages carrying volunteers and jump to sailings with paying passengers if the cruise line operator requires that 98% of the vessel crew and 95% of passengers on a scheduled sailing on are fully vaccinated.
  • As an alternative, cruise operators who decide not to mandate vaccinations, CDC will review and respond to applications from cruise lines to perform simulated voyages within 5 days, a review previously expected to take 60 days. Depending on the outcome of the simulated voyages CDC would determine cruise operators certification to sail.
  • CDC will update its testing and quarantine requirements for passengers and crew on sailings with paying passengers to align with the CDC's guidance for fully vaccinated people. So, for example, instead of requiring passengers take a PCR lab test ahead of boarding, fully vaccinated passengers would take a rapid antigen test during the embarkation process.
  • CDC has clarified that cruise ship operators may enter into a "multi-port agreement" rather than a single port agreement as long as all port and local authorities sign the agreement.
  • The CDC has clarified guidance on quarantine guidelines for passengers who may be exposed to or contract COVID-19. For example, local passengers leaving the ship may be able to drive home and passengers who have traveled by air to cruise may quarantine in a hotel.

For more information, please visit the Port of Seattle website

 

More News regarding cruising out of Seattle:

  • The Port of Seattle has delayed its $200 million cruise terminal project (Terminal 46), which was slated to open for the 2023 cruise season. Port officials will assess the COVID-19 impact on future cruise business before continuing the project, which requires a $100 million investment from a private partner(s).

 

STR: U.S. Hotel Results 

11-17 July 2021 (percentage change from comparable week in 2019*):

  • Occupancy: 71.0% (-8.7%)
  • Average daily rate (ADR): US$139.19 (+1.8%)
  • Revenue per available room (RevPAR): US$98.87 (-7.1%)

Despite a four-point, week-over-week improvement in occupancy, ADR dipped slightly from the all-time high achieved the previous week.

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Among the Top 25 Markets, New Orleans saw the highest occupancy increase over 2019 (+5.8% to 59.5%).

San Francisco/San Mateo experienced the steepest decline in occupancy when compared with 2019 (-36.6% to 56.3%).

Miami reported the largest ADR increase over 2019 (+32.4% to US$208.13), while Tampa registered the highest RevPAR increase (+29.2% to US$119.54).

The largest RevPAR drops were in San Francisco/San Mateo (-55.6% to US$94.29) and Boston (-47.9% to US$102.05).

*Due to the steep, pandemic-driven performance declines of 2020, STR is measuring recovery against comparable time periods from 2019.

Most Recent Traveler Sentiment Findings (as of 7/12/21)

by 

 

Key Findings to Know:

  • Overnight trips are on the rise. Over half of American travelers took an overnight trip in the past three months (52.2%, up from 44.6% the week of June 28th). These overnight travelers were overwhelmingly satisfied with their trips, despite some reporting less satisfactory experiences with restaurants not being fully open (22.1%) and travel prices being high (20.5%). Still though, one-in-three of these recent overnight travelers report that their recent travel experiences have made them more enthusiastic to travel (32.2%).
  • However, the spreading Delta variant is giving American travelers pause. In fact, 51.0% say they are less interested in traveling right now because of the variant and more expect the coronavirus situation to get worse in the U.S. in the next month (19.6%, up from 16.2% the week of June 28th). Additionally, after dipping to a pandemic-record low of 31.6% the week of May 31st, more American travelers now agree that they do not want travelers visiting their community right now (39.6%).
  • There is hope for increased vaccinations amongst travelers. Of those who remain unvaccinated, 34.2% say they will get inoculated soon or at some point this year, while 23.8% are open to the vaccine but need more time or information. Unfortunately, 36.7% of this group say they will not take the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Americans feel that now is a good time to spend money on leisure travel. With over two-thirds (67.9%) of American travelers reporting having been able to save at least some money this month and 42.1% saying their household is “better off” financially compared to one year ago, 44.6% of travelers feel that now is a good time to spend their money on leisure travel—a sentiment that is much more strongly held amongst younger travelers (57.8% for Millennials or younger, 45.7% for Gen X vs. 30.9% for Boomers or older).
  • Despite increased savings, travelers are still feeling price conscious. 50.6% of Americans say that travel rewards programs will continue to be important to how they generally plan their leisure travels and 69.8% agree that getting the lowest possible prices while traveling is important to them. Still though, travelers are feeling the sting of increased travel costs, with 59.2% agreeing that travel prices are generally too high right now, particularly hotel rates, gasoline, airline tickets and car rental fees. When asked if high travel prices have kept them from traveling in the past month, 36.9% agree that it has.
  • Travelers’ increasing environmental conscientiousness should not be discounted. 52.3% feel that the environmental impact of travel is “important” or “very important” when planning their trips and 38.1% “usually” or “always” make their travel plans specifically thinking about the impact of travel on the environment.

Resources for Businesses

The state is working with federal and local partners to mitigate these impacts as much as possible. A list of resources for businesses and workers who have been impacted can be found here on the Governor's website.

Health Recommendations

Back to Work Guidelines & Toolkits

Back to Work for the Restaurant Industry

Back to Work for the Hospitality Industry

Back to Work for Retail Businesses

Guidelines for the Recreation

Additional Resources for Businesses:

 

These resources will be continuously updated. And if you have questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact us at PartnerServices@SeattleSouthside.com.

Stay tuned for the official details, which will be posted on the King County Public Health site. The RTA will continue to work in collaboration with these authorities for any implementations of this layered approach to mitigation.