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Louisville hotels get help with PPP loans

By on March 23, 2021 0

FOCUS found that the Omni was just one of 102 hotels and other accommodations on the metro to receive PPP loans.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Just one day less than five full months since it closed, the Omni Louisville is back in business.

Managing Director Scott Stuckey pointed out that few people in his industry can say they’ve opened a hotel, closed it, then reopened it in two years.

“This weekend we’re going to have probably close to 250 people,” Stuckey said.

It’s a start, but far from filling the hotel’s 612 rooms.

And the number of employees returning from furlough is only 80 of the 400 to 450 staff right now, according to Stuckey.

“I’m so excited,” front desk manager Jonathan Mello said. “So happy to be back.”

Mello had been relying on unemployment benefits all this time.

The way downtown Omni has managed to stay afloat during the pandemic is in part thanks to the federal Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.

FOCUS found that the Omni was just one of 102 hotels and other accommodations in the Metro to receive PPP loans, and the Omni got $2 million to $5 million, according to U.S. Treasury data.

Loans are repayable as long as they are used for payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities; however, the Small Business Administration states that 60% of the loan must have been drawn for the payroll to be completely forgiven.

While hotel management declined to comment, its first guest after the reopening, Edward Lee, did respond to the need for loans. Lee owns a local restaurant.

“All of my restaurants actually got a PPP and it’s been huge,” Lee said.

His three restaurants are among 10,233 businesses in Derby City that have received between $1 billion and $2 billion in PPP loans, the data shows.

“Like most restaurants that received their PPP in late May, June, it’s pretty much sold out,” Lee warned.

That’s why Louisville Tourism President and CEO Karen Williams said she’s constantly harassing Congress for more help.

“Our occupancy right now downtown is going from sometimes single digits to 15% occupancy,” Williams revealed. “Whether it’s $1 million, $2 million, or $10 million, it helps them know how to plan for the future.”

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