GI business and tourism down drastically since March

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - With events being canceled and people staying home, these last few months have been really hard on businesses in Grand Island. Many say their busiest time of the year typically starts in March and goes through the state fair in August. That is not the case this year.

Nathan Delaet is the owner of the Mainstay Suites, just one of many hotels taking a financial hit these last few months.

"We're just kind of going with the flow like everybody else, trying to make things work in the short term so hopefully things can turn around and get better," Delaet told Local4 News. "We're not planning on seeing numbers like they've been in years past for this particular year."

The hope was for it to get better sooner rather than later, but it looks like as events continue to get canceled that won't be what happens.

"June historically is one of the best months out of the year for Grand Island," Delaet said. "It's definitely going to be that this year. I am hoping this kind of pick up in July, August and September."

As of right now the state fair is scheduled to continue and the tourism industry says it's really their only chance to get through the year.

"That's a really important decision for our industry," Brad Mellema, the Executive Director for Grand Island Tourism, said. "Obviously we want to do the healthy thing and abide by those rules, it's very important that we do and we understand that. But that's a real bell whether for if there will be any real business opportunity for the hospitality industry in our community."

Until they know big events are definite again, people are just staying hopeful and getting business where they can.

"There are things that are happening in town. Business is still happening in many sectors," Mellema said. "Healthcare is operating obviously, there's governmental clients that do come to town as well. There is business, but it's well less than half what it usually is."

Mellema says this isn't a Grand Island specific problem, that businesses and tourism have suffered all across the state these last few months.