Spindrift September 10, 2020

The outdoor patio of the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club was again the site of our meeting last Thursday, which was attended by 12 of our members, and our guest speaker, Gary Sherwin. This meeting was not broadcast on ZOOM, so only those who were in attendance were able to both interact with our articulate speaker and partake of a delicious lunch. Contact Bob Wood, Ken Dufour, or Richard Swinney if you are planning on attending the next meeting.

Pres. George Lesley started off with an invocation thanking our Supreme Being for the beautiful day and venue here in Newport Beach. Our lives have been changing daily with the fires in Northern California, the COVID-19 pandemic, and with social unrest taking place around the country. It is important, however, to consider the little things that we can do which can make a big difference, such as smiling at someone (even through a mask!), or saying “hi”, or calling a friend or relative to see how they are doing. He also mentioned that Tom Naughton, and his wife, Jean, should be in our thoughts and prayers. Past- Pres. Ken Dufour then led the group in our flag salute.

There are advertisements coming from the local pharmacies and medical facilities regarding the availability of flu shots. It is especially important to get vaccinated, but the flu season actually doesn’t begin until sometime in late October or early November. Influenza vaccines are effective for the flu season in which they are administered, and only generate adequate immune response for about 6 months. Since the flu season generally begins in late October and ends in April, the best time to get your flu shot is somewhere between October 1 and October 15. It’s okay to get it a little earlier, but most influenza cases occur in the late fall and winter months, and you want to be covered for that period. Also, because we are widely regarded as seniors, we should be vaccinated with the High Dose flu vaccine, because our immune response is much weaker than that of younger adults.

Tom Naughton is currently in hospice, and his very significant other, Jean, is surprisingly upbeat and is holding up remarkably well. Leo Fracalosy commented that Wally Ziglar is doing well, but that Sharon, his wife, will not let him come to the meetings.

Pres. George introduced our speaker, Gary Sherwin, who is the President of Newport Beach & Co, the marketing organization for the City of Newport Beach. Gary expressed his appreciation for the things that the Exchange Club does to make our community a very special place to live and work.

Tourism is intensively competitive in Southern California, and is a $ billion industry in Newport Beach (NB), with over 10,000 jobs that are totally dependent on it. NB has recently approved its budget with a $33 million deficit, all of which is related to the decline in tourism: decreases in hotel occupancy, restaurants, and sales tax revenue. Transient occupancy tax (i.e. room tax, 10%) is the 3rd largest revenue source for NB. The COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on tourism has been 7 times as devastating as that of 9/11. With summer being the high season, and with 80% of hotel occupancy being the norm, the current occupancy is roughly 36%, with 2 hotels remaining closed until sometime next year. There is no current meeting and convention business, which is the lifeblood of the NB hotel industry: group business needs to constitute 60% of the NB hotel business for them to break even financially, and this has gone away at least through the end of 2020 Furthermore, the hotels that are open are operating at just a fraction of their capacity. Disneyland will not reopen until sometime in October; compare this with 9/11, when the theme park closed for only one day! In Anaheim, their Convention Center has also been closed and their hotel occupancy rate is 28% (usually 80-90%). Tourists want to come back, but don’t feel safe in doing so: we may not see a return to some degree of normalcy until an effective vaccine becomes available. International guests who visit NB and other parts of the OC (e.g. Saudi, UK, UAE, China, Japan), generally stay longer, spend more money, and have a greater eco-nomic impact on the community. NB & Co. has closed its offices in Dubai and London because this business has gone away. Airlines are now undergoing painful restructuring, with massive layoffs, reduction in available flights, and complete loss of air service at small airports. On the positive side, there has been an increase in short-term rentals and in sales of RVs which has alleviated some of the pain. Look around you: NB still remains a viable site for tourists, unlike San Francisco and New York City, which have been more severely affected and will take much longer to recover. NB will have a Boat Parade this year, and our Field of Honor is planned to return in 2021. For more information, please visit the NB & Co’s wonderful website at https://newportbeachandco.com


ATTENDING the roast beef luncheon:

Others attending: George Lesley, Bob Wood,