After more than a year COVID-19 restrictions and closures the Yakima Convention Center is ready to show off the new expansion. The center is hosting an open house on Friday, May 14. It's a chance for everyone to view the new 18,000 square foot expansion. People will be able to walk through the addition, see the many new features and meet center staff.  A press release says the open house is set for May 14 from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Entrance to the event is through the outdoor plaza on 8th Street in Downtown Yakima. COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place so guests are asked to wear a face covering and follow social distancing guidelines.
The last year hasn't been easy for the hospitality industry.
John Cooper, President and CEO of Yakima Tourism says restaurants and hotels had a lot of job losses in fact he says 2, 400 jobs were lost in the valley because of the pandemic in the industry. Many lost jobs others lost entire businesses.

Cooper says he expects a busy summer tourism season with many people already planning travel for the upcoming months. He says a majority of people are still skeptical to fly so driving vacations will be popular this summer. That's good news for the Yakima Valley says Cooper. He says many people plan stops in the valley on their way to other larger destinations. Area wineries and breweries are ready for the increase in business and so are small businesses and restaurants. The Department of labor national jobs report says almost four in 10 of all lost jobs since February of last year were in the leisure and hospitality industry.

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