It is no secret that the stay at home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devestating effect on the local service industry. For most service industry jobs, some relief has been available in one form or another. Unfortunately, our local tour guide companies and employees are not seeing any such relief.
One local tour company, Hottest Hell Tours, is working to set up a fundraiser to help support local historians and guides. The 4 person team has already raised $1,000 for their cause, and received applications for assistance from 20 guides in the city. When asked about the motivation behind starting a fundraiser, co-owner of Hottest Hell Tours, Kimberly Kaye, said “[we are] one of the 300+ tour companies here in town that are in purgatory because of COVID. While we’re thrilled our gig economy brethren in restaurants and music have been getting assistance from organizations like the James Beard Foundations and the Jazz and Heritage folks, sadly there are no similar heroes to help those of us in history/tour guiding get through this rough patch. Hundreds of guides don’t know when they’ll be allowed to work again and haven’t been paid in weeks.” She went on to say, “If more people learn about, donate to, and share the fundraiser, we can help more people more completely.”
Hottest Hell Tours has different ways for the community to help support their fundraiser. One way is to purchase one of the shirts inspired by the city’s three centuries of plague history at their shop www.hottesthell.com/shop. Another way to support their effort is to donate directly at www.hottesthell.com/donate.
Funds will be used to buy Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, and Amazon gift cards that can be distributed to out-of-work guides for essentials like food, medicine, and toiletries.
Kaye wanted to get the word out not only for support in the fundraising effort, but to inform the tour guide industry outside of Hottest Hell Tours that all those affected can apply for assistance.
Since Mayor Latoya Cantrell has extended the stay at home order until May 16, aid for those unable to work is more necessary than ever. To apply for help, guides can message a photo of their CURRENT tour guide’s license and their tour company name to MANAGER@hottesthell.com. We are collecting applications until May 6, 2020.