HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Every year, Hollywood attracts millions of visitors bringing in billions in associated revenue. But you wouldn't know it today as the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame is mostly deserted, save for a few random tourists taking obligatory selfies.

Shellee-Ann Kellee came to Hollywood for the entertainment business, but eventually started her own tour bus business, "All-Star Showbiz Tours." 

What You Need To Know

  • Tour operator's business halted by pandemic

  • Now driving Uber to make ends meet

  • Trying to get small business loan to keep company afloat

  • Tour operators awaiting word from governor on reopening

“I started my own tour business thinking that was gonna give me a lot more revenue,” said Kellee sitting in her SUV along the now deserted Walk of Fame. “And then I moved into the Valley, into a house, and now mostly everything pretty much goes for the house…until March the 18 when everything stopped.”

Kellee is a business of one. She owns it, and also drives visitors to famous Hollywood sites herself in her sole tour bus. She was one of the first small touring businesses to come to Hollywood Blvd., competing with bigger names like Starline and TMZ Tours.

“I have 10 to 14 people every day, sometimes two tours,” said Kellee. “That adds up when you charge a lot more money than doing an Uber.”

Driving for Uber is what Kellee has been doing since her tours stopped, but that's just a fraction of her normal income. 

“It's terrible. And I have a house,” she said. “I'm trying to get a small business loan, because I'm incorporated, and that's not coming through. Hopefully it'll come through soon.”

Richard Schave and Kim Cooper also operate a small niche tour called “Esotouric,” that focuses on things like famous L.A. crime sites. They have also put operations on hold and won't resume until state and local leaders have a comprehensive plan. 

“We are waiting for Governor Gavin Newsom to create a holistic public policy in response to this situation,” said Schave. “For the tourism industry in general, for public events. These are huge problems that no one has any answers for.”

Shellee-Ann Kellee is waiting, too, and says when business does resume, the rebuilding of consumer confidence will take time before it's business as usual.

“Just proceed with caution,” she said. “Get out there in the sun. That's the healing. There’s healing is the sun. Stay your distance. Protect yourself. But don't be afraid.”

Although the long-term effects of the pandemic’s economic devastation are yet to be seen, for Shellee-Ann Kellee, and many others, she is counting now on the resilience of the industry.