Community

Tourism industry awaits return of visitors

South Main Street in Hannibal has seen greatly reduced traffic as businesses have closed at a time when tourism season usually starts to ramp up. However, parks and recreation areas remain open for those who wish to exercise while observing social distancing.
TREVOR MCDONALD/COURIER-POST
By Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted: Apr. 4, 2020 4:51 pm Updated: Apr. 4, 2020 5:26 pm

HANNIBAL | A message on the Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau expresses the heartfelt sentiments of the local tourism industry.

“We look forward to being able to welcome you again soon! #dreamnowtravellater.”

In Hannibal, all tourist attractions are currently closed in the fight against COVID- 19. Mayor James Hark released an executive shelter-in-place order Thursday, March 26, calling on Hannibal residents to stay in their homes unless they are conducting essential business, such as buying gas, groceries, carryout meals, medicine or medical treatment.

A statement describing the current health crisis and the decision to close the attractions is posted on the HCVB website describes the situation.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, attractions are currently closed,” the passage reads. “For an up-to-date list of restaurants that are offering curb-side service and delivery, please check https://www.facebook.com/HannibalChamber/.

Attractions and other nonessential businesses are currently closed in response to orders at the federal, state and local levels to limit the spread of the coronavirus, there are still ways to experience Hannibal's unique history through walking or driving tours through Hannibal's historic districts — making sure to follow CDC and government guidelines of proper hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, maintaining social distancing of six feet and avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people.

Self-guided tours with maps are posted in the “Recent Articles” section of the website. The first tour includes historic homes in the Central Park Historic District and downtown area, like the Mark Twain Boyhood Home at 210 Hill St. and the Becky Thatcher House at 211 Hill St., the Loomis Double House at 212-214 N. 4th St., Trinity Episcopal Church at 213 N. 4th St. and the George Dubach House at 313-315 N. 4th St. The second tour covers the Maple Ave. Historic District, with homes including the Nepper-Landau House at 1112 Hill St., the Robert B. and Emma Simonson House, at 1200 Hill St. and Cliffside at 8 Stillwell Place.

Mary Lynne Richards, marketing director and recreation supervisor with Hannibal Parks and Recreation, said Hannibal parks are open, but all events and programs have been suspended in response to the COVID- 19 outbreak. The main entrance to Riverview Park is closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic while road work is completed. People can access the park from the Soap Hollow Trail on River Road, and a map is posted on the Hannibal Parks and Recreation website.

Richards said amenities that encourage gathering have been removed or closed off. Parks and Recreation officials and staff know fresh air and exercise provide benefits for physical and mental health, but they remind everyone to “stay at least six feet from other parkgoers when hiking, walking or jogging.”

Hannibal Parks and Recreation staff urges everyone to follow National Parks and Recreation Association guidelines in the park:

• Refrain from using parks or trails if they are exhibiting symptoms

• Follow CDC's guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during use of parks or trails

• While on trails, warn other users of their presence and as they pass, and step aside to let others pass.

Nature Moments with Gale will be posted to the Hannibal Parks and Recreation's website and social media outlets. Gale Rublee is the nature interpreter for Hannibal Parks and Recreation, and she usually leads nature programs and hikes. Rublee said there are chances for families to interact with nature close to home as well.

“There will be seasonal observations like listening to the different frogs, plus nature activities families can do right in their backyard like cloud watching, following insect trails, or making mud pies,” Rublee said.

More information about tourist attractions and events and updates is available by visiting www.visithannibal.com. The latest information about Hannibal's parks is available at www.hannibalparks.org. Information and updates from the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce are available at www.hannibalchamber.org.

 

 

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