County Health officials make another tough call that impacts tourism industry

When Riverside County dropped the hammer on the massively popular Coachella and Stagecoach festivals, it was another blow to the local tourism industry, the backbone of the Coachella Valley.

COVID-19 has claimed two more “lives” in the music industry when it was announced that the mega popular concerts were cancelled for the second consecutive year.

These concerts pack every available hotel room in the Coachella Valley into the Banning Pass  and into San Bernardino. Lodging rates range from $99 per night with some rates reaching $3,500 for a single hotel room.

Short-term rentals pull down premium rates. Some homes have been rented for $20,000 for a single weekend. These rates are the “reasonable“ rental rates of those now-controversial short-term rentals.

Even Lake Cahuilla Veteran’s Regional Park is rented out to a private firm that rents out camp sites, tents, and turns the park grounds into a private circus-like atmosphere.

The polo fields that host the two concerts are packed with concertgoers and vendors. Some say getting a ticket to Coachella is almost as difficult as getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

While this virus rages on and vaccines are finally here officials still wonder when enough people will be vaccinated to help America turn the corner and get back to businesses as normal before COVID-19.

County officials have been vaccinating as many people as they can. Supplies of the vaccine are limited. One county official said vaccine shortages are the culprit.

Some estimate that more that 10% of the concertgoers are international guests. At present, only those that are vaccinated are allowed to enter the United States from international destinations.

Thus far, the region’s tourism industry has lost the Palm Springs Film Festival, International Date Festival, Tamale Festival, and Paribus Tennis Tournament. All have been postponed or cancelled. This a direct hit on morale and the economy.

Popular attractions such as the Palm Springs Air Museum, General George S. Patton Museum, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Living Desert Zoo and Gardens have closed or dramatically reduced operations.

This spells economic disaster for every employee who works at any of these events or attractions. The entire tourism industry has taken a huge hit and has taken a toll on every employee from rank and file, supervisors, managers, and executives. Many are financially and emotionally devastated.

The economic toll on the cities has cost them sales tax and hotel tax revenue. Some are taping reserves to handle the cash shortage. They have also laid off workers and furloughed employees to balance their budgets.

County Health officials have had to make tough calls. They are doing what they believe is right. That still isn’t popular with those impacted by the calls they make which result in massive job loss.

While our death toll continues to rise in California, the United States and the world, we await federal, state, and county officials’ plans to push out 100 million vaccines in the next 100 days as our President Biden has promised.

Federal, state, and county officials here and across the nation must dramatically improve the distribution of vaccines and the process of how they are administered.

Millions of Americans are hoping for a solution and praying they can get vaccinated, while others don’t want the vaccine at any point.

While we wait for vaccinations and herd immunity, those who are jobless and looking for help from their government are in dire straits.

At some point we must return to pre-COVID-19 days to get our friends and neighbors back to work.  We must open our schools and colleges, and return to the pre-Coronavirus economic prosperity for all Americans of every race, creed, and color.




Image Sources

  • Coachella Music Festival: Shutterstock