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Group: Pandemic caused millions in Detroit convention losses

Associated Press

Detroit — The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau says the Detroit area has lost out on more than $200 million through cancellations of convention and other business gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

The actual amount of money lost amid virus-related lockdowns and closures is likely far worse because the estimate doesn’t include Detroit’s TCF Center, where the annual auto show alone generates tens of millions of dollars, MLive.com reported over the weekend.

Greektown Casino, in Detroit, March 11, 2020.

“Recognizing that our governor and the administration are doing what they can to save lives, as a result of putting restrictions in place, it has demoralized our industry and devastated it, just devastated our industry,” the group’s CEO, Larry Alexander, said.

The convention business losses have a ripple effect, including to hotels, bars and restaurants.

Lockdowns are easing, though many in the convention and travel industry are urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to further loosen restrictions to make it possible to use more conference and convention spaces.

Part of the TCF Center was used as a temporary field hospital early in the COVID-19 health crisis. It treated around 40 patients before it was closed.