What’s next for Chicago’s hospitality industry?

March 14, 2021

Arguably no sector of the Chicagoland economy was hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than hotels and tourism, and it will likely take years for the hospitality industry to recover to its pre-pandemic strength. The crisis took an especially deep toll on tens of thousands of hotel workers, an economically vulnerable group that’s still mostly out of work. Now that the industry is looking for ways to bounce back this summer, city and state leaders are facing tough debates over questions like how quickly capacity limits should be expanded, how soon hotel workers should be vaccinated and what rehiring in the industry should look like. Alex Nitkin spoke with Michael Jacobson, president of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, and Karen Kent, president of the hospitality union Unite Here Local 1, about how hotel owners and workers envision the industry’s recovery.

Listen below.