LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It's official! Fans will be allowed in the stands at the 146th Kentucky Derby. While a lot of planning is going into keeping people safe at the track Labor Day weekend, local hotels are now preparing for thousands to flock to Louisville.
"Having the Derby to be run with the fans in the stands gives a real turbo charge to the tourism industry to kind of kickstart it, to get ready for people to begin traveling again," said Kerri Richardson, with Omni Louisville.
Richardson said it's going to be an exciting celebration and a warm welcome, after being closed for almost four months since March. They are planning to reopen August 1.
The Omni is nearly at full capacity for this year's Derby, and have been, since the new 2020 dates were announced.
"The first thing that our team did was to contact all of the guests that had scheduled for the first weekend of may and move them over to Labor Day weekend," Richardson said.
Just down the street, the Galt House is in the same boat.
"Once that announcement was made a few months ago, we were able to shift, 90 plus percent of what we had on the books over to the new Derby dates and we've actually already seen new leads for the new derby date, so that's exciting," said Skip James, with ASJ Hotels, that manages the Galt House.
James said the Embassy Suites and the Crown Plaza, who they also manage, are expecting dozens.
"We're going to have some happy guests and also some happy associates because we do have quite a few reservations on the books at all three hotels here," James said.
They know things will have to look different in order to keep their guests safe and healthy during the pandemic. James said they are making a touch-less experience as much as possible throughout their hotels. The Omni has posted more information about their protocols on their national page here.
As fans travel into town for a historic Kentucky Derby, it's safe to say they will also be met with a unique, hotel experience.