According to a report by the Long Beach Post, the Singapore-based Eagle Hospitality Trust, the operator of Long Beach's Queen Mary, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, placing the city's landmark on a perilous cruise.
Why it matters:
Since the start of the pandemic, the hospitality industry has been in crisis mode, and cities like Long Beach that rely on hotel taxes from tourism and events have seen a drop in revenue. COVID has shot a $30 million hole in the city's budget. Plus, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, a trade group that represents the hospitality industry, said in a report that "direct state and local tax revenue generated from hotels fell by one-third in 2020 and will not rebound until 2023".
The big picture:
The AHLA wrote in its annual "State of the Hotel Industry" report that the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic "has been nine times that of 9/11."
AHLA anticipates business travel to lag at least 85% through April and don't expect travel to return to 2019 levels until 2024.
The AHLA forecast that hotel occupancy to average just 52%, compared to 66% in 2019.
In May 2020, the Queen Mary's operator Urban Commons issued a report stating the ship generates $93.7 million in "economic output," or value, for the city, per Signal Tribune.
Eagle Hospitality Trust's bankruptcy documents obtain by LBP state that the company is drowning in $500 million in debt.
Crash Course: Queen Mary
The City of Long Beach owns the stationary ship, but Urban Commons has a 66-year lease to operate the old cruise ship and develop the adjacent land around it.
In 2017, a survey conducted by naval architects and vessel specialists found that the ship is in such a terrible shape that the Queen Mary would need at least $289 million in repairs, per LA Times.
In 2019, the Queen Mary's operator Urban Commons created Eagle Hospitality Trust and listed the company on the Singapore Stock Exchange to raise funds for its US-based projects like the $250 million Queen Mary Island project.
The City of Pasadena sued Urban Commons for failure to pay back taxes, per the LA Daily News.
One man suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to his lower body in an alley early Thursday just north of Downtown Long Beach, per LBP.
Officers discovered the victim in an alley in the area of Fifth Street and Chestnut Avenue at roughly 2:20 a.m., according to the police.
Paramedics transported the victim to a nearby hospital for medical attention.
Investigators stated they couldn’t find any indication that a shooting occurred in the area where they found the victim and don't know where the victim was shot.
The police are saying the victim is unhelpful with the investigation.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has signed the newly passed "Hero's Pay" ordinance that would require the largest supermarkets opening in Long Beach to pay their workers an extra $4 an hour due to the hazardous conditions brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Why it matters:
According to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, at least 82 grocery store workers nationwide have died from COVID-19.
A study by the Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that 20% of grocery store workers faced a higher infection rate, and most were asymptomatic.
What's in the ordinance?
The new legislation applies to the largest supermarkets within the city, with 300+ workers nationwide and more than 15 employees per store in Long Beach. The"Hero's Pay" only lasts for 120 days.
The Long Beach City Council unanimously passed the tentative measure Tuesday night, with the final vote on the measure to occur on Feb. 2.
The grocers strike back:
On Wednesday, the California Grocers Association filed a lawsuit against the City of Long Beach in federal court, seeking an injunction to prevent the "Hero's Pay" ordinance until the case can be heard before a judge, per Fox 11.
The CGA contends that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it is singling out specific grocers and overlooking other industries that employ essential workers.
The CGA also asserts that the "Hero's Pay" ordinance would preempt the National Labor Relations Act, which is protecting the collective-bargaining process.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors created a similar law that would require a $5 per hour increase for employees at national grocery and drug retailers in unincorporated areas of the county.