CORONAVIRUS

Multiple Eastern Iowa hotels temporarily close due to COVID-19 concerns, Kirkwood Hotel donates food to charities

Waukee High School seniors (from left) Valerie Sanders, Brandon Anderson, and Ryan Sullivan, all of Waukee, compete in t
Waukee High School seniors (from left) Valerie Sanders, Brandon Anderson, and Ryan Sullivan, all of Waukee, compete in the 2012 Iowa ProStart Invitational Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, at the The Hotel at Kirkwood Center on the Kirkwood Community College campus in Cedar Rapids. (The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A number of Eastern Iowa hotels have announced temporary closures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Hotel at Kirkwood Center announced on its Facebook page it is closing and reopening April 6, due to guidance from the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and governmental entities.

The dates could change, according to the teaching hotel on the Kirkwood Community College campus. Responses are expected within 24 hours to inquiries made to (319) 848-8700 or hotel@kirkwood.edu.

“As we prepare to close the hotel doors for the next couple of weeks, we are proud to be helping our community by donating all perishable food supplies we had on property to the Heritage Area Agency on Aging and HACAP,” Kirkwood Hotel noted on its Facebook page Thursday.

All domestic Graduate Hotels, including in downtown Iowa City, will close effective Friday.

“While our team is deeply dedicated to serving both our guests and neighboring communities, we believe closing our hotels is critical for the health and safety of all at this time,” the Graduate announced on Thursday. “We will continue to work closely with local government and health officials to monitor and assess this situation and look forward to serving our communities in the near future.”

The closure also applies to the adjacent hotelVetro, which the Graduate manages. No date has been announced for reopening either hotel.

University of Iowa’s Iowa House Hotel also is closed until further notice.

Josh Schamberger, president of Think Iowa City, the tourism bureau, said occupancy is typically 65 percent to 70 percent, but most of the 31 hotels and 3,450 rooms in the market are at 5 to 10 percent occupancy, 15 percent at the high end.

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Hotels are experiencing a tremendous amount of layoffs right now among housekeepers and administrative staff, he said.

He anticipates some additional closures in the next couple weeks, and given a recent hotel boom in Johnson County, it’s possible some closures will be permanent.

A message to the Cedar Rapids Tourism Office about the status of hotels in the Cedar Rapids area was not returned.

The city of Cedar Rapids-owned DoubleTree by Hilton tied to the downtown convention center and U.S. Cellular Center remains open.

Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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