Package the Fourth of July weekend with a 14-day quarantine for out-of-state travelers and you get a grim result for the downtown Santa Fe hotel scene.

Hundreds of calls came in to hotels to cancel reservations for the just-passed holiday, as well as other July and even August reservations, as soon as news crossed state lines July 1 that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham had decreed a 14-day self-quarantine for nearly all people coming into New Mexico.

“There’s no smiling today,” said Joe Schepps, president of the Inn on the Alameda, which had reopened only a few hours before the governor’s announcement after being closed since March 21. “We had 157 room night cancellations in the 36 hours after the governor’s announcement.”

With tourists — many from Texas, Arizona, California and Colorado — coming back to Santa Fe in June, downtown hotels had climbed out of the deep hole of April and early May and were beginning to reach the 50 percent maximum occupancy line set by Lujan Grisham.

But then came last week’s executive order requiring travelers crossing into New Mexico to enter a 14-day self-quarantine before wandering out to undertake tourism pleasures.

“We basically lost half of our occupancy within a day for the Fourth of July weekend,” said Sam Gerberding, general manager of the Inn of the Governors. Occupancy was 30 percent for the holiday weekend after reaching the maximum 50 percent of rooms filled the prior three weekends. The next two months look no better than 25 percent to 40 percent occupancy, Gerberding said.

“Tonight we’ll be under 10 percent,” he said Wednesday.

In the spring, hotel room occupancy was low because nobody was traveling. The most recent trend, many hoteliers said, is troubling at best.

“It’s certainly more demoralizing than April,” said La Fonda on the Plaza general manager Rik Blyth. “The rug has been pulled out from under us. I could have had 50 percent occupancy for the rest of the week. We are running 35 percent.”

Blyth said 40 to 50 reservations, accounting for more than 150 room nights, had been canceled as of Wednesday due to news getting out about the quarantine.

However, some hotels are also seeing new bookings to counter the cancelations.

“We have seen a 50 percent cancelation rate, but many of those have been replaced by new reservations,” said Regina M. Ortiz, sales and marketing director at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi. “There are those that are not comfortable traveling now. There are those that have a comfort level and still choose to travel.”

Ortiz did not disclose room occupancy rates but said occupancy has stabilized, albeit below the allowable 50 percent.

Heritage Hotel & Resorts reopened its Hotel St. Francis and Hotel Chimayó de Santa Fe on July 1 as the new 14-day quarantine went into effect. Heritage still plans to reopen Eldorado Hotel & Spa, Santa Fe’s largest hotel, July 15.

Hotel St. Francis and Hotel Chimayó de Santa Fe combined saw Fourth of July occupancy at about 30 percent with more cancelations than bookings since July 1, but more specific details were not given in a statement provided by Heritage.

Inn of the Five Graces co-owner Sylvia Seret wrote in an email the hotel “had been approaching a sense of normalcy with up to 50 percent occupancy on weekends. “(The quarantine) for out of state guests brought on a wave of guest cancellations and further uncertainty. We can only hope that this quarantine requirement is lifted soon and in the meantime would welcome more in-state staycation guests.”

Hotels report guests have been compliant with mask regulations on property. Hotels inform guests of regulations as they check in. Some call or email guests a couple of days before they arrive and leave mask reminders in rooms. The hotels also hand out masks to guests who don’t have one.

But it’s the 14-day quarantine, however, that rankles hotel operators.

New Mexico Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said last week out-of-state visitors account for about 9 percent to 10 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber on June 29 announced locals, not tourists, are causing new coronavirus cases.

“Why are you bringing an entire industry down to its knees?” said Jeff Mahan, executive director of the Santa Fe Lodgers Association. “The data doesn’t justify such a severe 14-day quarantine.”

Several hoteliers said tourists have been accosted by locals or have gotten a cold shoulder while in town.

“Local people on the Plaza tell people to go home,” Schepps said. “Locals should not look at tourists as plague carriers.”

“It turns the clock back when years where there was a strong anti-tourist sentiment in the city,” Gerberding said.

In any case, travelers in neighboring states have gotten the message from Lujan Grisham.

“Pretty much every hotel lost July,” Schepps said.

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(40) comments

Tom Hyland

Iama Price describes in this brief 3 minute video why she never wears a mask. Ms. Price and I are in complete agreement on this sensitive subject of late. She's a delight.

Tom Hyland

Here is a calm and soothing collection of facts, a little less than 6 minutes, describing the covid19 "thing" ya know... the THING? Are you ready finally to relax and get over it? A video for the whole family. Got a few minutes? Watch this.

Orlie Romero

What happened to peoples IQ the past year? If you have a 14 day quarantine all those in contact have to have a 14 day quarantine and those that had contact with those, it goes on and on.Nothing would be open, nothing. People, wake up, take off the useless masks, live your life and stop talking in circles.

Business owners, stand up and quit being weak, stay open and say that’s enough, what can happen, you control your own life not one person.

Barry Rabkin

Nothing happened to peoples' IQs. COVID-19 is nothing like the seasonal flu. COVID-19 is highly infectious and there is no treatment or vaccine. Stay Open? Great path to more exposure, more infection, more hospitalization, more intubations, and more death.

So, yes: let's overwhelm our healthcare system and create more business for the morticians.

Business owners who don't want to infect their customers should adhere to our Governor's absolutely legal orders. She has the authority of our US Constitution to do what she is doing.

Will businesses suffer? Of course. That is one result of a global pandemic. I have seen that vast ignorance of people who want to ignore the virus and its mortality consequences is another, and unfortunately, ongoing result.

Tom Hyland

Barry, watch the video I posted at 11:53 pm July 15th. It is above near the top of the comments column. You've been lied to, from Day One. Stop with the propaganda. Do they pay to to write this stuff?

Barry Rabkin

People absolutely don't control their own lives, not even in a representative democracy. Our country, and State, is governed by a representatives who we elect. Their authority is based on the US Constitution and the canon of laws (and legal cases) associated with the Constitution. The Constitution gives our Governor the authority to issue Public Health Orders that have the force of law.

Business owners can certainly enjoy several 'freedoms' if they ignore the Governor's Public Health Order: the 'freedom' to see the cease-and-desist order slapped on their business windows, the 'freedom' to see the chains and padlocks the State Police put on all of the business' doors, the 'freedom' to be required to pay a fine for not complying with the Governor's Public Health Order, and the 'freedom' of receiving a letter letting them know their license to operate as a business has been pulled so even after the pandemic they can not operate their business.

Yup, business owners can enjoy many 'freedoms' by not complying with the Governor's Public Health Order.

Jim Klukkert

Orlie Romero- "“I think if we could get everybody to wear a mask right now, I think in four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said Tuesday.

Redfield said he was “saddened” that the wearing of masks has become politicized.

Accurate reporting from the 'fake news' of the Washington Post.

The CDC is not the only Public Health Authority to advocate face mask wearing as the simplest, lowest cost prevention measure to the spread of the Global Pandemic.

Tom Hyland

@ Jim.... Wearing a mask to prevent the covid19 is the equivalent of wrapping your property with a chainlink fence to keep out bumble bees. Viral pathogens are microscopic entities that slip through just about everything! How about your eyes? Thought about this? Two wet saucers exposed to the world at large can absorb the covid19, too. I hope you're wearing your swimming goggles when you go out there. Virologist scientists work in clean rooms wearing what appears to be lunar spacesuits. They dress up in helmets and totally enclosed uniforms with attached boots and gloves and they have an oxygen supply tube pumping filtered air into the helmet. This is what it takes to protect yourself from viruses. But I'm sure your bandana will work just fine! That's a joke, son, a joke. Hmmm... I say the boy doesn't have a sense of humor.

Jim Klukkert

Dr. Tom Hyland, M.D.- Since you are dispensing medical advice that contradicts all other authorities, I am hoping that you will share where you went to medical school, and what is your speciality.

As one who has worked with honey bees, I really do not thing that using 'a chainlink fence to keep out bumble bees' is a working solution.

So Dr.Hyland, what qualifies you to disparage mask use, when all other authorities as well as many major businesses [Walmart/Sam's Club, Costco, Starbucks...] endorse mask wearing as the best preventative device?

Yor common sense? Really.

Tom Hyland

The masks guard you against nothing except vital oxygen intake levels. A virus is microscopic. A virus can pass through whatever item you are wearing and it can be absorbed into your eyes, into your ears... and that's why virologists wear space suits as they function in clean rooms. No one has to obtain a medical degree to know that. Not only do you overreact and scold people incessantly, now you are the bee expert who proclaims a chainlink fence doesn't deter the path of bees. No kidding. That's why I used the analogy. That's how useful your mask is against a virus. But you didn't get it. That's why I quoted the great Foghorn Leghorn... "the boy doesn't get it." The biggest corporations, the very few retail outfits described as "essential" are endorsing masks. Who cares? Does their endorsement bestow them with credibility? They are paid-off shills allowed to exist while every mom & pop business is crushed to death. So of course they are going to repeat the propaganda. I go everywhere without a mask and nobody approaches me. That's because Walmart, Albertsons, Home Depot etc. are swarming with people without masks. I never go to Starbucks because they've got GMO in their product and its written on their labels. I don't join clubs so I don't care about paid memberships or their policies. All this was is a hoax. Just another flu. Death rate currently is near zero but EVERY person who gets tested is positive. You believe that? I don't. We've been lied to since Day One. Believe what you want. Get the vaccine, Jim. Roll up your sleeve and get that vaccine.

Pam Walker

Talking about a dying city here. It is going to take many years to recover if there is anything left. Of course blame it all on businesses opening, say nothing about the protest and all the people swarming the Plaza for that. Right.

Karen Herrera

Our city and state will suffer disprotionally because the economy here has been weak for a long time. I would welcome an analysis comparing the loss of life from covid and the loss of life from severe economic hardship.

Barry Rabkin

Using 'loss of life' is not sufficient; you have to factor in the life-long impact (damaged lungs and other organs) of COVID-19 on people's bodies who get infected and you have to factor in the number of life-and-death choices that medical staff have to make when our healthcare system is overwhelmed.

Ramon David

Do like Hawaii. Make tourists show a test negative for SARS-Cov-2, maybe before and after they arrive:

"Arriving tourists must isolate for two weeks, or until the end of their stay, whichever is shorter. Violators may face up to a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison. Beginning Aug. 1, travelers can avoid that restriction by showing proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their trip.


Nicole Panter Dailey

What a terrible headline. She's a good governor caught in a bad situation. I am in California where any and all gains made by "safer at home" from March to May have been lost by opening way too fast. When I come to my home in Santa Fe, I'll happily self quarantine for 15 days. Be glad you have a strong governor who is not folding under the pressure of political expedience.

The utter lack of federal leadership has created this problem.

Elizabeth Pettus

The obsession with license plates disregards the large number of second home owners who live in Santa Fe during the summer, often from June through September, paying taxes, patronizing businesses, and not utilizing a large number of public services-they are a big part of our economy and should be welcome always!

Barry Rabkin

I'm more than happy to welcome them after they self-quarantine for 14 days in their Santa Fe homes before venturing outside ... and of course, wearing their masks when they do leave their second homes where-ever they go: just walking around town; window-shopping, dining in a restaurant's patio, or shopping for groceries or other essentials. And maintaining 6 feet of space to other people.

David Butler

I live in Flagstaff and I wish we had your governor. Our governor began to reopen bars and other businesses around Memorial Day, right after the president made a rally stop in Phoenix. This was a poorly timed decision, suffice to say, and combined with the governor's lack of mandates for masks or travel quarantines, our state is now overrun with infection. Today major hospitals in PHX are requesting freezer-trailers to help store cadavers.

I know NM's hotels well, and have stayed at each of those mentioned in this article. It's terrible for business, but your governor is protecting the people and she will help the economy recover faster by discouraging tourism right now.

Barry Rabkin

Exactly correct !!!

Donna Joy Vigil

Didn't Texas and Florida have quarantines implemented for travelers from New York when NY was a hotspot? I get why it is tough for business but it's a public health emergency.

Lisa Burns

The headline of this article is completely misleading. The blame should be placed squarely on COVID-19 not our governor who is trying her best to keep us safe. Disappointed in SFNM for this headline.

Stefanie Beninato

As far as I can tell, tourists are not quarantining and many leave the hotel without a face mask on. I guess you can say sauntering from an outdoor table to Starbucks and then to a gallery is "exercise". However locals like the guy who sells jewelry in front of the 5 n Dime without a mask, day laborers without masks hanging out at tables across from the DWS also contribute to the problem.

Mike Johnson

The question is, when will the State Police start visiting the hotels to demand the papers on who is registered there, where they are from, and the interrogations start about quarantine fulfillment. Remember.....the Guv is.....watching you....

Amy Earle

I understand the economic pain of the hotels but look at the states most of these tourists are coming from. CA, TX, and AZ are all major virus hot spots. Do we really want tourists from these states right now especially since we are trying to get our own case numbers back under control? Like it or not now is not the time for people to be vacationing in states other than their own. One day the pandemic will be behind us. The tourists will come back. Until then the hotel industry will be hurt. Blame it on the pandemic not the governor who is just trying to save lives. There’s also some blame to be placed on local citizens who refuse to do the simplest things that might make a functioning economy possible. Virus not contained equals not being able to have a more normal economy.

Andrew Rich

This article doesn't explain the entire executive order. It's fourteen days or the length of your stay in NM, whichever is shorter. But, if you can't leave your hotel room and say the room service at a better hotel isn't operating because the staff has been reduced like some hotels in town have been forced to do, then there isn't much point in staying in town. There are ways to travel safely, but a lot of the population in this country won't go to the level of packing their own food and staying outside of major metro areas and even generally avoiding going in rest stop bathrooms . It's difficult. If you prefer to just be in the great outdoors, it's fine, but for many, it's not a vacation at all. There is no way to eat indoors or stay indoors at a hotel and share a corridor and a lobby with other guests and truly be safe right now. You are far less likely to contract it out of doors. Santa Fe still has the draw of the great outdoors around it, but the major tourist draws within the city itself are a liability until this passes, as they are in every city and town in the country.

Mike Johnson

This is the official death of the NM tourism industry, and hopefully all the tourists will remember MLG's "hospitality" for years to come.

Barry Rabkin

We are living, or trying to live, during a global pandemic. This is a time for extremely heavy caution in all of facets of our lives, including Tourism. Every visitor is potentially bringing the virus with them. I hope all tourists remember that we have a Governor with the backbone to do what she must to save the lives of all the people living in NM.

This is nowhere near a time for "hospitality" ... not until there is a vaccine, not until the vaccine is available to every person, and not until every person gets vaccinated.

Mike Johnson

So you, like the Guv, favor forced vaccinations of everyone before anything is fully opened in the state???

Barry Rabkin

I absolutely favor forced vaccinations ... not only for COVID-19 but for the seasonal flu and for all childhood diseases.

Tom Hyland

@ Barry Rabkin. You wrote a reply to Mike Johnson that you are in favor of forced vaccinations for everyone. What would this forced vaccination operation look like? Would it be conducted door to door by armed soldiers? Because there are plenty of people who will refuse. Then what? Will they be shot dead? How does this deal go down, Barry? I know what you will say.... "It's the Law!" No, it's not. So far there have only been executive orders, which are not laws, announcing the most draconian invasions into our lives. Only the Legislature writes laws, not the Executive. And the Judiciary can unlawfully condone the unlawful Executive orders and still these are not laws. This is why we have three separate offices of governance and neither office can impose authority onto another. This is basic high school civics, in case you weren't there that day. This is how it all works.

We recently celebrated another 4th of July... sort of. There were fireworks whether you liked it or not. The 4th of July is the date upon the Declaration of Independence. That document was essentially a "bye bye" letter to King George III. The Declaration said, "You ain't the boss of me." The British authority and laws, which were robbing us of our rights, our property, our freedom... and that governance was soundly rejected. The governor or whomever might proclaim ALL of us will be injected with a vaccine and risk a violent death if refused... and you Barry might proclaim, "It's The Law!!" and there just might be another historical moment when the American people say, "bye bye" to the laws that are robbing, stealing and killing us. Stuff happens, Barry. Read history. "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, etc. etc....." Stuff happens.

Andrew Rich

Some will stay away for a long time, but others will come back. My worry is that many hotels, restaurants, etc won't survive another 6 to 12 months of this. The response to the pandemic needed to be an even approached, thoughtful, national approach. We are one nation, not fifty. Fifty governors with fifty different approaches is just so unbelievably dumb.

Carole Goeller

Well, if we had national leadership, governors would not be forced to make their own way. Grateful that we have a governor basing decisions on science and disease trends.

John Cook

I don't understand. If this is the death of the tourism industry what do you expect to gain if tourists derogate mlg for years to come? Do you think that will keep them from voting for her in their home states? Or, maybe, when she runs for President? Otherwise, tourists who aren't here, because of the 'death of the tourism' industry aren't going to have much impact on mlg.

Barry Rabkin

But if the tourists are from Arizona or Texas they very well could be plague carriers. Hotel managers and Front Desk staff should be letting visitors know there is a 14-day self-quarantine. Yes, that is uncomfortable to do but hospitalizations and death are more uncomfortable. There is a global pandemic, folks, with no cure, no treatment, and no vaccine. The hotel staff should act accordingly even if it makes them uncomfortable to do so.

Donald Apodaca

Barry, you are correct. Fine the hotels for not informing the guest or our State laws. Don't allow potential guest to book a room for less than 14-days. Simple solution.

Tom Hyland

Tell me WHO is going to travel to Santa Fe, pay for a 14-day stay at a hotel, and not leave the building the entire time? I'll answer that question... NOBODY. And you know it. You also know this covid19 panic is orchestrated... a planned operation... and you wrote that to me in a private email. So why are you inflaming the hoax? Do you really pull a baklava face mask up every time someone approaches you if they are unmasked, or are you virtue-signaling and stoking the hysteria by writing such hypocrisy online at this paper? Because Democratic states have gone hog wild testing for covid19 now there's a surge of reported cases. But deaths are almost nil, since the death rate peaked in early May. The news media does not want to mention that to anyone. You have an ulterior self-serving purpose to profit from the "pandemic" which you admitted to me is planned and disingenuous.

Donald Apodaca

Mr. Hyland, I can NOT control what is coming. However, I choose to not pick a fight against what our Government is going to do. What I learned most working for the Federal Government is "Don't F*** With The Fed's." And yes, I don't leave home without my 511 balaclava face mask. FYI: Cash is going to be worthless soon. They will start by claiming that there is a shortage of change. Then, because of COVID-19 business will no longer take paper money. Go visit Blake's or Lowes today. Signs are already up. How will that affect your business? . "If you don't like wearing a mask you wont like being hooked up to a ventilator in ICU." That is my new manta. And no, I will not profit from the political satire I create. I will give it away.

Donald Apodaca

Tom, folks from Texas, California, Arizona, Illinois and New York are already visiting here and following the rules. They are here to look at homes to BUY in Santa Fe. Only 3 COVID-19 deaths reported so far. We are blessed to live in the City Different.

Tom Hyland

Donald. Stop the nonsense. Your message, "Mask or Ventilator" is useless, incorrect, paranoid propaganda and will only disturb people further. Satire?? This is not satire, this is moronic masturbation. You're only stroking yourself. Don't do this in front of people. Also, why is your graphic a "smart" young lady of color wearing a mask and the other side some "stupid" old white man on a ventilator? What are you projecting? Looks kinda racist. Don't do this in front of people.

Donald Apodaca

Building without a permit, driving without a license, refusing to wear a mask: The Tom Hyland lifestyle.

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