The board of the Jekyll Island Authority heard another harsh financial report Tuesday during its monthly meeting, held virtually.
The authority saw a dramatic dip in revenue in April due to the closure of most island amenities and many businesses.
Revenues for April were $943,380, which was $1.6 million less than what JIA had budgeted for the month, said Bill Gross, chair of the board’s finance committee.
“As you may remember from last month, several of our amenities as well as the convention center were closed in March as we implemented measures to control the spread of the COVID-19,” Gross said. “Those locations remained closed for the month of April.”
The Jekyll Island Convention Center has been hit hardest with a budget shortfall of $335,000.
“The good news is that most of the groups have rescheduled for late summer or early fall,” Gross said.
Total traffic counts were down 65 percent compared to the same month in 2019.
Expenses for April were $1.7 million, 26 percent less than the budgeted expenses for the month.
Year-to-date expenses were $2.4 million less than those budgeted.
At the outset of the shutdown prompted by COVID-19, JIA implemented full and partial furloughs for most part-time employees and many full-time employees to reduce costs.
Hotel financial reports for April were just as bleak. Reported revenue was $278,000, $4.6 million less than what came in during April 2019.
The occupancy rate was 15.1 percent. In April 2019, hotels were at 79 percent.
The Jekyll Island Club, Ocean Suites, the Westin and Days Inn remained closed the entire month of April.
A piece of good news, though, was that numbers are already trending upward in May, said Jones Hooks, JIA executive director.
“If we look at our April revenues, the per day revenues for April were $8,942, which is really, really bad,” Hooks said. “But the trend is looking much better because if we looked at the first 17 days of May, we’re now at $22,682 a day.”
Jekyll Island recently began opening some amenities. Hotels and the Jekyll Island campground are also operating but capping occupancy at 75 percent to ensure adequate public distancing.
The continued closure of Summer Waves waterpark will result in a lot of lost revenue, Hooks said.
“Summer Waves is really a revenue generator for us during the summer months,” he said. “And so that’s a real problem for us.”
Summer Waves was budgeted to bring in around $348,000 in May.
“Basically, the percentage of budget brought in was zero,” Hooks said. “So that’s a major hit for us.”
In other business, the board unanimously approved a revised lighting ordinance for Jekyll Island’s beach that is meant to protect nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings.