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Omni Providence Hotel to shutter until June amid COVID-19 concerns

Coronavirus
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Amid escalating concerns related to the global health crisis caused by COVID-19, the Omni Providence Hotel will shut down until June, according to its owner.

Peter Strebel, president of Omni Hotels & Resorts, confirmed Thursday the downtown hotel will close beginning Monday and not reopen until June 1.

“The global health crisis has hit the hospitality industry swiftly and significantly. Like many hotels, we’ve felt the impact and made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations at Omni Providence Hotel,” he said in a statement. “Our intent is to reopen the hotel as quickly as possible, although we will reassess each week. “

Strebel said the company is working to minimize the impact the shutdown will have on its employees, but did not immediately disclose how many people would be affected.

The Unite Here Local 26 estimated about 200 members worked at the hotel in 2018, according to a WPRI 12 report at the time. A union representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company had previously issued a travel advisory about the outbreak, waiving cancellation fees for existing and new reservations made through April 30.

The Omni Providence Hotel has more than 500 rooms and is a prominent part of the downtown skyline. Its joins an ever-growing list of businesses forced to shutter as the local economy is faltering amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo earlier this week ordered a shut down of all dine-in services at restaurants and bars.

The decision to close the hotel came on the same day emergency officials met with staff at the neighboring Dunkin’ Donuts Center and the R.I. Convention Center to explore the possibility of using the facilities as an emergency triage center if the coronavirus cripples area hospitals.

Eli Sherman (esherman@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Tim White contributed to this story.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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