As the city is awakening from the long pandemic, some of the most iconic places are now open for business.

Tourists flocked to Central Park on Thursday. For some, a stop at the nearby Plaza Hotel was part of the plan again.

The popular landmark on Fifth Avenue and Central Park South has been a staple of the city since 1907.

For the first time since the COVID-19 shutdown, patrons like Alexis Stewart and the ladies in her family were allowed back inside. You were sure to enjoy an Eloise Tea Party at the famous Palm Court.

“I just love spending time with my family and it feels like home,” said Stewart.

The lavish venue is stocked with tea and champagne, though social distancing and reservations are required for a 2021 hotel experience.

George Cozonis, executive director of the Plaza Hotel, said the reopening was symbolic.

“New York is finally open again, welcoming guests from all over the country and around the world,” said Cozonis. “We felt like we couldn’t say that New York was going to reopen until the plaza reopened.”

As more hotels follow the plaza, the impact of COVID on tourism will change.

The number of visitors to the city fell from 66 million in 2019 to just 23 million in 2020.

This lost 200,000 jobs.

To aid recovery, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an ordinance abolishing a tax rate of almost six percent on hotel room occupancy for three months from June 1.

According to Vijay Dandapani, CEO of the New York City Hotel Association, this incentive enables hotels to cut the cost of their rooms and encourages customers to return.

“5.875% is nothing to sneeze over. It’s a price of $ 200. You see $ 12 saved in a single night. “

According to Dandapani, hotels are still only around 40% occupied.

In addition, there are still international travel restrictions and a decline in business and convention travel.

Even so, the city’s economy is slowly moving on a profitable path.

“Our hotels are ready to go again, and most importantly [in a] safe, clean and welcoming city, ”said Dandapani.

The health and safety of guests and employees will continue to be a priority. And instead of large galas, the Plaza awaits smaller, more intimate gatherings for the time being.

The aim is to be 100% occupied again by the popular holiday season.

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