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DECC facing financial whiplash: December’s promising month turned bleak

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DULUTH, MN -- As Minnesota's new COVID-19 restrictions go into effect this weekend, what was the start of a comeback for the DECC is now stopped in its tracks.

December was shaping up to be a promising month at the DECC: they had four events planned for December 5th and thought they might have to hire more people to staff them all.

On Thursday, the DECC announced they are having to once again consider more layoffs now that 90% of their events are canceled, per Governor Walz's Executive Order.

For the year of 2020, the DECC's revenue is down 53%, which is a loss of $6.3 million.

After already laying off almost 400 employees, DECC Interim Executive Director Roger Reinert said they will now have to cut back even further.

"The biggest challenge of the new Executive Order is just really the blow to the morale of the staff," Reinert said.

The DECC is not the only venue impacted by the event cancelations.

According to Travel Duluth President and CEO Anna Tanski, the cancelation of youth hockey, curling club, and musical events impact the entire tourism industry.

"When you lose the magnitude of and the volume of these events altogether, cumulatively, we're really looking at millions of dollars lost in just this short time frame of four weeks," Tanski said.

The DECC also has to decide which maintenance projects are necessary, and which ones will have to wait.

"We will continue to ensure that the DECC not only survives but that it stays maintained and stays healthy," Reinert said.

Exceptions in the order mean not all DECC events have been cut. The Bulldog women's hockey team will still play there, but with no fans.

The COVID-19 testing site will also continue to operate seven days a week.

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Kendall Jarboe

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