The coronavirus pandemic is forcing bars, restaurants, casinos, recreational centers, gyms, and other “nonessential businesses” to close across the country, and President Donald Trump’s properties are no exception. Save for one holdout, the Trump Organization’s hotels in the U.S. have either completely shut down or closed parts of their facilities.
What’s surprising is how long it took for some of these properties to close. For example, at least three people who later tested positive for the coronavirus visited Mar-a-Lago in recent weeks, yet the club only decided to close its restaurant, spa, and aerobics classes on Thursday. Two officials who accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during his visit with Trump to the 20-acre property on Saturday have both tested positive, as did someone who attended a Trump fundraiser there a week prior.
When asked about the exposures, Trump Organization executive vice president Eric Trump told Politico, “The safety of our members and guests are of our utmost importance. We are monitoring all of our businesses closely and are following the guidelines provided by the CDC.”
To avoid possible contamination, Mar-a-Lago temporarily closed down on Monday for a deep cleaning. That was the day Trump, in a coronavirus press briefing, advised Americans to “avoid eating in bars, restaurants, and public food courts.” But even during the cleaning shutdown, Mar-a-Lago kept its beach club, which is housed across the street from the main facility, open.
CNN reports that members received an email about the cleaning indicating that dinner services were resuming as usual Tuesday through Saturday shortly before the club decided to close the restaurant. It also looks like people were still frequenting the club earlier in the week. A Palm Beach real estate agent posted images of himself lounging at a Mar-a-Lago pool on Wednesday with the caption, “fun day with Rachel, had a chat with Don Jr. and Brought home a key lime pie lol.” (Key lime pie is reportedly the most requested dessert on the menu at the club.) An Instagram post from Donald Trump Jr. this week does appear to indicate he was at Mar-a-Lago.
Other Trump hotels have made similar decisions to close off certain areas that may attract crowds of people. The Trump International Hotel in D.C., the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, and the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York have all decided to close their restaurants, fitness centers, and spas. The Trump National Doral in Miami is closing its restaurants and fitness centers, but will still keep the tennis courts, golf courses, and the upper level of the Royal Palm Pool open. The Trump International Hotel in Waikiki is only closing its restaurant, while the Albemarle Estate at Trump Winery in Virginia is keeping everything open for the time being, though there are dining capacity limits. The Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas has been completely shut down after Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered all nonessential businesses to close.
These same properties, though, had still been encouraging people to visit up until recently on social media. The latest post on the Facebook page for the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago was on Monday and reads, “Be inspired by impeccable views of Chicago’s landmarks and natural beauty as you indulge within one of our guest rooms or suites in downtown Chicago. #NeverSettle.” (Illinois has now closed bars and restaurants, though hotels are still in service.) The Trump National Doral Miami posted a picture of its bar on Friday with the caption, “Make it a lucky Friday the 13th with a round on the green and then a round at Champions!” (All Florida bars have now been shut down.) And Trump International Hotel in D.C. put up a post also on Friday, two days before D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser closed bars and restaurants, reading, “Another reason to love Fridays … join us for Dessert Night at Benjamin Bar & Lounge for unlimited freshly made desserts and rotating live-action station. Tonight starting at 6:30 pm.”