Lubbock tourism takes hit from coronavirus


LUBBOCK, Texas — Triple J Chop House and Brew Pub, a local favorite and tourist destination, has been around since 2006. The owner and operator of the restaurant, LaTisha Keller, said she is feeling the pinch.

“it’s been a really sad, sad time,” Keller said.

She said the restaurant is seeing less people with tourism at a standstill. Lately, it’s been serving mostly locals.

“Between Texas Tech and being on the interstate and just being a local restaurant, tourism is one of the most important factors of our business,” Keller said.

John Osborne, president and CEO of Visit Lubbock, said although it’s been difficult, the city is still better off than other major metropolitan areas.

“It’s definitely been a challenge,” Osborne said.

In a good year, Lubbock sees 6.4 million tourists pass through the Hub City. This year, hotel occupancy has dropped 25.4 percent from March 1 to May 23 compared to 2019. This time last year, occupancy was at 64 percent.

“We’ve since built back up into the low 40s and that’s a far cry from being in the 60s where we were last year,” Osborne said.

Right now hotel occupancy is at 38.6 percent, and Osborne expects that number to increase as the year goes on.

“We’re really promoting those businesses that have participated in Lubbock Safe program,” Osborne said.

For now however, places like Triple J continues to hold tight, and hope for some sort of normal.

“I know this isn’t ideal and it’s not wonderful but we need to resume for people’s livelihoods,” Keller said.

Keller adds that although restaurants are permitted to be open at 50 percent occupancy, in order to follow social distancing rules they can only permit 40 percent of their full capacity inside their restaurant.

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