Since Friday, December 23, 2022, interstates 35 and 90 have been closed in certain directions due to the frigid temperatures and severe winds. Due to the decision to restrict the roads, surrounding hotels scrambled to accommodate the unexpected influx of guests.
Destiny Althiser, an employee at the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, said that all of the rooms were filled by 3 p.m., but calls continue to come in requesting accommodations until the morning.
“We got booked very early [Friday],” Luke Boyer, Front desk employee stated on Saturday. “The majority of the people that came in last night … didn’t want to stay in Albert Lea. They were kind of forced to stay here because of the weather.”
According to Boyer, many tourists, families, and people were traveling via interstates, with the majority of visitors coming from the Twin Cities, but there were also people from Arkansas and Texas.
Boyer anticipated more people than usual as a result of the storms, but his primary worry was getting to work. Still, witnessing so many overnight tourists was unexpected. He estimated that he had to decline around fifty possible guests.
Guests which were booked, according to him, were pleased and grateful to be taken off the streets and into the shelter.
Boyer was also startled by the number of individuals who were unable to get accommodations, and he said that he was forced to divert them to the Armory for overnight refuge. The hotel also collaborated with other hotels to provide accommodations for travelers.
News Source: https://www.albertleatribune.com/2022/12/albert-lea-hotel-staff-respond-to-rush-of-travelers-stranded-in-the-blizzard/