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Orange County's Largest Hotel, Hilton Anaheim, Reopens

ANAHEIM (CBSLA) - The tourism industry is seeing a rebound after the pandemic as dozens of hotels are reopening in Orange County.

Thursday, the county's largest hotel, the Hilton Anaheim, reopened after a shutdown that lasted over a year. The hotel is right near Disneyland.

Almost 20,000 people working at the hotel, including cooks, housekeepers, and other hotel staff, were laid off during the pandemic.

But with the comeback, there's a setback. Not all of the workers returned, especially in housekeeping.

The Hilton is one of 19 hotels now back in business. During the pandemic, 29 hotels in the city closed down.

"A lot of our hotels are having challenges," said Jay Burress, CEO of Visit Anaheim. "It could be a lot of the employment benefits, it could be moving to other industries, but at the end of the day, we have to find the employees."

Orange County, which moved this week into the least-restrictive tier of the state's COVID-19 economic reopening blueprint, Thursday reported a small uptick in coronavirus-related hospitalizations and logged four more fatalities.

The county also reported 37 new infections, increasing the cumulative caseload to 254,919.

Orange County on Wednesday officially entered the least-restrictive yellow tier of the reopening blueprint, which allows for greater attendance for many businesses such as movie theaters and gyms, while museums, zoos and aquariums can open at full capacity. For the first time bars and distilleries can open indoors. Theme parks such as Disneyland can expand capacity.

"I think it is definitely a welcome reprieve from COVID, and many of our businesses will be thrilled to have more capacity," Supervisor Katrina Foley told CNS on Tuesday. "And, in general, our community worked so hard to get to this point, wearing the masks, social distancing, getting vaccinated. And it's working.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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