Ohio Co. Tourism Cancels All Remaining 2020 Events

Monday, April 27, 2020 at 11:45 AM

By Ohio County Convention, Tourism and Visitors Commission, news release

A “wait and see” approach is being taken before scheduling future events.

The annual photography postcard contest is among 2020 events that are being cancelled. File photo. 

(Rising Sun, Ind.) - The Ohio County Convention, Tourism, and Visitors Commission (Ohio County Tourism) has canceled the August 22 Hot Summer Night event featuring the Belairs Show Band. The annual photography postcard contest and all remaining 2020 events have also been canceled due to the coronavirus.

Although COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and six-foot-distancing mandates may be eased in the near future, the organization has decided to take a “wait and see” approach before scheduling future events.

“These are unique and uncertain times,” said Kendal Miller, executive director of Ohio County Tourism. “Our organization decided to cancel all events for 2020 and wait and see how things play out.”

Miller explained that once the organization knows the “new normal”, the Commission can make event plans from there. To continue to spend money on pre-planning events that may not be able to take place —and for good reason—is not something the organization wants to risk.

According to reports from the Indiana Tourism Association and tourism marketing-related sources, the industry as a whole has—and will continue--to take a huge hit no matter what area you’re from. While some people are anxious to get out and about, others plan on erring to the side of caution when the stay-at-home order is lifted.

With guidelines potentially being scaled back over the upcoming weeks or months, it isn’t clear as to what stipulations will come along with them.

Miller explained that there are lots of unanswered questions as to the “new normal” and how it will affect tourism even in day-to-day operations. As examples, it is unclear whether or not large groups will be allowed to assemble in the future and/or if social distancing will still be a requirement.

Whether or not the public will feel comfortable getting back out into group settings is also a concern.

“I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’re not going to wake-up one morning and COVID-19 will be completely gone. So how do we balance that with getting back to what is being dubbed ‘the new normal’? The safety of our locals and visitors is our main concern.” said Miller.

During a recent telephone conference with colleagues and State officials, Miller said there were discussions as to the responsibilities of both businesses and organizations once locals and visitors are allowed to move more freely.

Among them was whether or not business owners/organizations will have to take on the responsibility of contacting people should an individual contract COVID-19 from their establishment/venue post stay-at-home restrictions. How a business/organization can prove that they were taking the necessary steps to ensure the public’s safety to prevent the spread of the cornavirus was also discussed.

Miller described the telephone call as “enlightening” as to possible scenarios that entities/businesses may encounter once people are allowed to shop, eat or visit either with or without restrictions.

As more details are known, the Ohio County Tourism Board of Directors will plan events accordingly. The board will also meet in the future and determine their organizations new priorities and goals moving forward.

Miller also explained that 2020 tourism-sponsored events are in the hands of their individual event organizers as to whether or not they will be held this year. Tourism’s sponsored events include: the Ohio County 4-H Fair, Music on Main & Cruise-in, Shiner Pride Car Show, Junk in the Trunk, the Ohio Valley River Cats Catfish Tournament, the Navy Bean Fall Festival and the Christmas Train Show.

Located at 217 N. High Street in Rising Sun, the Ohio County Tourism Visitors Center is closed until further notice. For more information, log-on to enjoyrisingsun.com or e-mail kendal@enjoyrisingsun.com.

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