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Visitors Came To The Northwoods But Response To COVID Varies

The Northwoods of Wisconsin

As reported by Oneida county chamber officials and others, some destinations have had many visitors come here during the COVID-19 pandemic to relax, other places had less response. While people were moving around freely, there weren't as many people wearing personal protective gear.

The Oneida County Tourism Council hosted an online roundtable on tourism business recovery.

One motel owner from Minocqua reported 95 percent occupancy over the holiday weekend, while a campground in Vilas county reported being full. ATV trails were busy and in the Manitowish Waters area restaurants and bars were busy. One person said visitors were in two camps: scared about PPP and others who weren't concerned at all. One business owner said her customers were scared by the crowds in downtown Minocqua.

Collette( Sorgel of the Three Lakes Chamber said that community was also busy. She says she visited nearly two dozen businesses...

"Most of them were overly cautious with sanitizing, making sure everything was set up straight. All the bars and restaurants had been spaced properly. They had everything set up. If they had outside seating it gave them even more capacity..."

Krystal Westfahl of Let's Minocqua Visitors Bureau and Chamber reported a mixed bag as some businesses she talked to were working to keep employees and customers safe, but not in all instances...

"..not everyone. There was kind of a mixed bag with businesses. I think from a visitor's standpoint I think we saw a big rush of people who came up to our area. People were trying to vacation and they wanted to do it like they've always done it and that doesn't necessarily mean wearing personal protective equipment..."

Westfahl says the strategy has to be to look at how the tourism economy can get out of the hole over the next few years in a long-term strategy.

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