It’s the understatement of the year to say the pandemic was brutal to the hospitality and entertainment sectors. For more than a year in most states, indoor dining was not available or was permitted only with limited capacity. Hotel occupancy plummeted, concerts were cancelled, amusement parks were closed, and professional sports had either no or few spectators.
Restrictions have varied by state and continue to vary today by region, including mask-wearing and social-distancing requirements. But the COVID vaccine combined with a reduction in infections and people’s desire to return to everyday life is now opening the door to a semblance of normalcy, albeit in some areas more than others.
The Path to Normal
Reopening has looked different across the country. In their home opener, the Texas Rangers welcomed 38,000 fans in the stands while the Boston Red Sox were permitted to have only 12% of their stadium capacity—just a couple of thousand spectators.
But no doubt, things are looking up. Travel is on the rise; hotels are welcoming visitors; and restaurants have increased their indoor dining capacity, even in states where restrictions have been more robust; concerts are resuming in the fall and in early 2022; and theme and amusement parks are back in operation. Disneyland in California, for example, recently announced its reopening with limited capacity, while in Florida, most Disney World parks have reopened.
“Each state is approaching reopening establishments and venues very differently, but they have all begun rolling back restrictions and making moves towards welcoming visitors, expanding dining, and opening venues and parks for the spring and summer,” says Christian Enwright, RPS Area President.
“We probably won’t be back to 100% in reopening until 2022 with people continuing to be cautious, but as the majority become vaccinated, the more comfortable we will be partaking in normal activities.”
Pandemic-Induced Insurance Adjustments
Like so many other industries, Enwright says that during 2020, adjustments were made to hospitality and entertainment insureds’ insurance programs, with some scaling back their limits during the height of the pandemic as their exposures changed.
“Insureds who renewed their policies in December pre-COVID, for example, saw their exposures decrease and their premiums adjusted to reflect this,” says Enwright. “We worked with insureds, our brokers and carriers to help clients get through this challenging time.”
Some restaurants and bars were able to pivot and offer outdoor dining and takeout and weathered the pandemic, while others didn’t have the ability to do so.
“Now that indoor capacity limitations are being lifted, increasingly more establishments are reopening their doors. We are also seeing certain establishments that couldn’t re-open changing hands,” Enwright notes.
“Slowly Resuming Life as We Once Knew It”
In many parts of the country, we will continue to see signage detailing an establishment’s rules including social-distancing requirements and capacity limitations. Many are also providing mask dispensers and hand sanitizer as well as using partitions/Plexiglas between tables.
Resorts and hotels have adopted and implemented strong safety measures, including contactless check-ins/check-outs, limited capacity in gyms, spas and restaurants, and increased sanitization procedures, among other measures, to make guests feel welcomed and safe.
“We’re slowly resuming life as we once knew it, and RPS is here to help insureds with their insurance needs as they welcome back patrons and guests,” says Enwright.