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Galt House Hotel offering COVID-19 testing to attract more guests, group bookings

"Everything is clean and sanitized but the COVID testing is just another vehicle if you will to give them that confidence to know that they are safe."

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Galt House Hotel is offering onsite testing options for COVID-19 in hopes of attracting guests and giving them peace of mind.

"Everything is clean and sanitized but the COVID testing is just another vehicle to give them that confidence to know that they are safe," president of On-Site Health Solutions, Dave Berlemeier said. 

Louisville's tourism industry has lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue since the coronavirus pandemic put everything on pause. Galt House is using the testing option, which is also open to the community, as a step towards recovery.

"We're very optimistic about 2021 especially with the rollout of the vaccines, we're seeing the numbers decreasing so we're trying to support that by offering the testing to make people feel safe and secure if they enter and exit the property," Berlemeier said. 

Visitors can register for a test online. They'll have three testing options to check if they're virus-free one of which will take less than 24 hours to get results.

"Typically it's private pay, some insurances will reimburse as well," Berlemeier said. 

Despite a year of furloughs, the Galt House is optimistic about the future. In the first weekend of March its rooms are booked for the first time in almost a year. 

"This is just one of those pieces that's going to help trigger the comeback a little bit quicker," senior vice president of the convention development at Louisville Tourism, Doug Bennett said. Galt House Hotel is the first to offer in-house COVID-19 testing options and Bennett believes other hotels may follow to attract more group bookings. 

"If it's a corporate group and it's a command performance by staff they're going to be tested onsite and so no one would be able to come into their meeting with an unknown illness," Bennett said. 

Thousands of employees in the hospitality industry were impacted in 2020. Bennet said there are 15 events on the calendar for March that offer a glimmer of hope, and with Derby around the corner he's hopeful the industry will slowly bounce back.

"Consequently we'll see better days as soon as the third quarter or fourth quarter of 2022," Bennett said. 

►Contact reporter Senait Gebregiorgis at SGebregior@whas11.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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