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How COVID-19 could impact Twin Falls tourism

Posted at 7:40 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 09:09:44-04

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — There are many tourist attractions throughout Twin Falls that entice people from across the country, such as the Snake River Canyon Rim Trail and Shoshone Falls. The ongoing pandemic and stay-at-home order is now prompting people to not visit these locations, which could have an effect on the town's economy.

Tourism is the fifth largest industry in Twin Falls and, due to COVID-19, there has already been an effect on local business. As summer approaches, there's an area of concern because of it is the busiest time of the year for people to visit.

Businesses that revolve around recreation such as kayaking, biking, fishing and boating could take a hit. While local citizens may do their best to support this field of work, not having tourists could result in serious loss in revenue.

“This is certainly having a rippling effect across the community. There is no question it’s very serious, but the programs are slowly coming into place and we’re doing our best to connect people to those," said Shawn Barigar, Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce president.

The pandemic is causing unemployment and lay-offs to rise exponentially. The Chamber of Commerce, which employs thousands, is working with the Department of Labor to put people currently out of a job in contact with those providing work.

The full impact on the town's economy is unknown, but everyone is encouraged to try and do their part by supporting local business and their neighbors throughout this time. Barigar believes the city will come out the other end of this time stronger, better connected, and resilient.

Public spaces such as the Canyon Trail remain open to the public, but it's encouraged to only stop by and not plan a long trip to the area.