The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have a major impact on Michigan tourism this year, according to White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amy VanLoon.
VanLoon, on a phone interview last Monday, said most events are still on, but could be threatened by social distancing response measures to try to limit the COVID-19 impact.
The first event to fall victim is the Trash Bash, a community effort to clean up along the lakeshore, river banks, parts and road and trail shoulders in Montague and Whitehall. That event was planned for Sunday, April 26.
VanLoon said planners could ensure that volunteers could be safely distanced and be provided from contaminated refuse.
To help clean up the community, the chamber is encouraging individual efforts to clean up the community.
The chamber’s annual promotion for tourism will be delayed and reduced.
The executive director said the assembling of the White Lake Area Welcome packets distributed at area hotels is normally conducted the first week of May, will be delayed until the first week in June. The number of packets will be reduced from 2,500 to 1,500, she said.
VanLoon said the chamber’s annual June golf outing will be delayed until fall.
The first major tourism event of the summer, the Father’s Day Arts and Crafts Festival June 19-20 at Goodrich Park in Whitehall is still on, according to the executive director. There may be some changing in the layout of booths to provide more distancing.
VanLoon said they are counting on being able to hold the patriotic and traditional Fourth of July parade and fireworks in Whitehall and Montague.
A chamber-sponsored event, the Legislative Lunch on May 29, is still on the schedule, according to VanLoon. She said the date was selected to meet Congressman Bill Huizenga’s schedule. However, the luncheon is hosted by Howmet Aerospace at Plant 10, and the facility might not be available if social distancing continues.