Upstate bracing for Irma evacuees


Michael Bonasia with A Loft Hotels said his staff was already expecting a busy weekend because of Clemson football. Now, with Hurricane Irma heading towards U.S. mainland and possibly the Carolinas, rooms are going fast.

“We saw a lot of activity come in late Monday,” explained Bonasia. “We started to sell rooms on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, with Sunday not being the typical time you’re going to sell out.”

Bonasia says they will have extra staff on hand and extend dining hours to accommodate those displaced by the hurricane. He understands it’s going to be a stressful situation for evacuees.

“We do want to be their everything. They’re going to be displaced from their homes,” explained Bonasia. “They don’t really want to be here and they’re going to have a lot of worries.”

While some may be seeking shelter in a hotel, others can rest assured there will be American Red Cross shelters set up if the need arises. Lisa Colby is the executive director for the Upstate chapter of the American Red Cross.

“Their job has been to give them hope on top of a roof over their head,” explained Colby.

A list of shelters is still being finalized, but Colby assures evacuees that there will be a place for them.

“We have agreements with government agencies and shelter agreements with community organizations and faith based organizations,” said Colby.

A Loft in downtown Greenville was just one of many hotels in the area seeing an increase in bookings starting at the end of the weekend.

“We have to come together. The coast is probably going to hit pretty hard. We want to be there for them,” said Bonasia. “We want to do our share, our portion. We’re going to show just how good South Carolina can be to its fellow citizens.”

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