If someone had told me I would one day get a photo of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with no people in the shot, I wouldn’t have believed them. In fact, it has been a frustration of mine that it is so difficult to get a good clear shot of any of LA’s tourist attractions. There are just too many people in the way!
Grauman’s, now TCL Chinese Theatre, is one of the most crowded spots on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As you can see in the before COVID-19 photo, tourists crowd so densely into the forecourt that I don’t know how any of them could see anything.
That abruptly changed in March 2020 with the outbreak of the coronavirus. While the Governor had not yet issued the stay at home quarantine order, the theatres, clubs and tourist attractions had been closed. Not only was the forecourt at Graumans deserted, so was the walk of fame. It was like a ghost town.
About a week later the Governor and Mayor ordered everyone to quarantine in their homes. I found the order odd. The streets were already deserted. People were already staying home. There was no where to go!
While mainstream media has reported just about every single new case of coronavirus contacted, there has been almost nothing said about the unthinkable economic damage caused by the quarantine which is currently moving into its fifth week.
Here is a snapshot of what the quarantine has done to the tourism industry in Los Angeles and California.
In Los Angeles County alone, over 50 million visitors contributed $36 million into the local economy in 2018. This created 534,258 jobs. Add Orange County into the mix and you have another $13 billion contributed to the economy and another 179,000 tourism related jobs.
Statewide almost $106 billion was brought into California by the travel and tourism industry and 2 million jobs were created directly and indirectly as a result.
Now the attractions are closed, the planes are mostly grounded, the ground transportation isn’t needed, the hotels sit empty and the restaurants are take out only. 2 million “non-essential” people are now unemployed.
The virus is invisible and the staggering number of victims that were suppose to overwhelm our hospitals never materialized. I know. I’ve gone to the hospitals and looked. But the economic damage done by drastic measures to contain it is very visible.
As LA re-opens, I urge my readers to do what they can to support the “non-essential” businesses that have been hardest hit. In particular give your support to the small independent businesses that don’t have the resources to fall back on that they large chains do.
More photos after the break…
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