By Gwendolyn Craig
Hotel Saranac announced it will temporarily halt operations starting Friday, the latest closure in a long list of Adirondack businesses impacted by the coronavirus.
Though hotels are exempt from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order to work remotely or temporarily close to reduce the spread of the virus, ultimately the lack of visitors is causing a number of lodgings to shut their doors for now.
Hotel Saranac, one of the largest employers in Saranac Lake, joins a number of other hotels that have temporarily closed their doors, including The Sagamore in Bolton, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s lodges and the Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid, to name a few. Tourism destinations have also announced temporary closures across the park, including the Adirondack Experience museum in Blue Mountain Lake.
Jacob Kipping, general manager of Hotel Saranac, said by Friday more than 70 people will have been temporarily laid off, and two employees will remain. He hopes the Hilton-branded hotel, owned by Roedel Companies, can hire everyone back soon.
“We’re evaluating on a weekly basis here,” Kipping said. “We’ve tried to stay open for as long as we could.”
When Paul Smith’s College announced it was closing, families came up to get their children, and Hotel Saranac housed some of them. There have been some travelers, medical staff and essential personnel the facility has also housed, but Kipping said there just aren’t enough essential workers now to stay open.
The hotel was able to push some events to later in the year, and Kipping is looking forward to hosting guests as soon as possible.
“We’re getting primed and ready to get on the other side of this thing, and ramp back up operations here,” Kipping said. “It’ll come. It’ll come with time, and we’ll all get through this.”
The news comes as counties across the region have asked tourists not to visit, the state Department of Environmental Conservation closed fire towers, and some local hiking destinations, including a few popular Lake George Land Conservancy spots, were closed.