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Tourism and hospitality leaders cautiously optimistic on DNC delay

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Now that Democratic party leaders have delayed their national convention, tourism and hospitality leaders said the convention is on firmer ground.

“Since Milwaukee was announced as the site of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, the hardworking and hospitable people of our city have shown an incredible amount of enthusiasm for hosting the historic event. As protecting their safety and security remains the top priority of the convention team, we are grateful to our partners at the Democratic National Convention Committee for moving forward with a plan that enables our city to highlight and showcase all that we have to offer,” said Host Committee CEO Raquel Filmanowicz.

The Metro Milwaukee Commerce Association said the change relieves growing uncertainty.

“The uncertainty about the July date was starting gnaw at people, I think pushing it off into August lets people have what I think, a view as a more achievable target,” said Vice President Steve Baas.

The change leaves many questions. Will other events need to be bumped? Can restaurants fully reopen? The Wisconsin Restaurant Association said it’s still feeling a little relief.

“They could have gone completely online and I’m very relieved and happy that’s not the route they’re going,” said President Kristine Hillmer.

Visit Milwaukee said the convention could jump start the state’s economy, currently stalled by coronavirus. It could put people back to work and bring in money from people itching to travel.

“Travel is a part of our DNA, it’s who we are, we want to explore, particularly after we’ve been confined to our homes for so long,” said Communications Director Kristin Settle.

But Baas cautions, coronavirus could still throw a wrench in the works.

“This is going to be the type of even that’s going to be real difficult for people to give the green light to,” said Baas.

The Greater Milwaukee Hotel and Lodging Association said it is looking at what it can do to help with the change.

“The Greater Milwaukee Hotel & Lodging Association is aware of the announced date change to the Democratic National Convention. We understand and appreciate the decision that was at hand and respect the action taken by the DNCC. The hotel & lodging community in the greater Milwaukee area is already looking into how we can help to make this important event happen as advised, and we look forward to proudly demonstrating Milwaukee’s ability to host world class events,” said President Colin Walsh.

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