MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Local tourism is working to adapt to an unexpected national health crisis.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak that has impacted business across West Virginia, the Morgantown Conventions and Visitors Bureau created an outlet through their website which allows for local business that are still open to let residents know.
“A Mountaineer Country Community Resource, a guide during the coronavirus,” explains Morgantown CVB President & CEO Susan Riddle.
Despite several limitations and closures, Riddle stated that there are several local businesses that are reaching out to local residents. Rather they be a restaurant out in Star City or a business in Downtown Morgantown that might be affected by the stay-at-home order implemented by Governor Jim Justice as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, everyone is having a chance to spread their word.
“And it’s everything on local information, supporting your community, to-go dining, different services, actually shopping that is still available,” said Riddle on WAJR’s talk of the Town. “As far as different, whether it be major chains, grocery stores, those kinds of things,” she said.
Not only are business reaching out to residents to encourage economic activity, but also to reach out in charity. While the Morgantown CVB continues to encourage residents to buy from local restaurants and stores, charitable works across the North-Central region are also being promoted. This includes efforts made by various local boards of education and other business who have volutneered time and resources.
“Some of the stuff that’s been out there that people have been stepping up and providing, whether it be lunches for kids, while they’re unexpectedly at home, or first responders, supplies, it makes you proud to be a Mountaineer,” said Riddle.
While encouraging social distancing, the tourism industry in particular is expected to have a long road to recovery as states slowly work to deal with the COVID-19 at their own pace. In response, the Morgantown CVB has offered virtual tours of local parks and landmarks that have been closed as a result of the outbreak. This includes locations such as Dorsey’s Knob and Cathederal State Park, who much like the popular Cooper’s Rock, has been closed on government orders. For now, Riddle says the intent is to promote the best parts of North Central West Virginia as possible.
“As long as we are doing the right thing, as soon as that gets reopened we’ll have all of those resources out there again for people to start and make those connections, and bring people here to the region,” she said.