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Yesterday several Louisville news outlets reported the permanent closing of the Hard Rock Café, a staple component of 4th Street Live!, the city’s most visited tourist attraction.

The Courier Journal’s account is here.

Hard Rock Cafe’s lease will not be renewed in 2021, according to a statement from the company, meaning the national rock ‘n’ roll-themed chain, which is currently closed, will not reopen – though a statement from the company said it hopes to open a new restaurant in Louisville under the right circumstances.

“Since opening the doors of Hard Rock Cafe Louisville in 2004, Hard Rock International has enjoyed serving the Louisville community and playing a role in the city’s dining culture,” a statement from Hard Rock International said. “… The brand remains committed to the city and is open to having another location within the market, if the right space can be identified.”

It you’re just tuning in, the pandemic’s impact on tourism and business travel, and in turn vastly diminished downtown hotel occupancy rates this year, help to explain the challenges facing the roster of hospitality-oriented businesses that make up 4th Street Live! WHAS-11 has the story in this report from October.

Tourism is Louisville’s third largest industry, and one that took a huge hit when the pandemic began. Conventions, business meetings, concerts and sports were all cancelled or postponed. That has led to a devastating effect on the hotel industry. The average hotel occupancy in Jefferson County in 2019 was 70%, but in 2020 it is just 30%, and currently even lower.

Today’s cover photo depicts the Hard Rock Cafe’s 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger™, which was not the topic of the title cut from Dire Straits’ 1982 album.