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Galena tourism industry remains open, businesses adapt to pandemic

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 2:19 AM CDT
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GALENA, Ill. (KWQC) - The 200 million tourism industry in Galena is taking a hit because of COVID-19, but businesses and the city are trying to adapt.

"We have so many small businesses that depend on tourism spending. We don’t have the population size to support the amount of businesses that we have,” Rose Noble, President and CEO of Galena Country Tourism, said.

The summer and fall seasons are generally Galena’s strongest months and overall the city is faring better than other tourist destinations, as people seek to escape larger cities, like Chicago, and are staying for longer periods of time.

“People can’t travel to Europe and can’t travel to the rest of the states for various reasons, so they come to Galena,” Dana Meadows, the owner of Honest John’s Trading Post for 40 years, said.

The city has taken steps to adapt to the pandemic while trying to keep visitors safe. A mask mandate is in place in Downtown Galena. Traffic lanes have also been closed on mainstreet to allow for patio space for bars and restaurants, while allowing for for space on sidewalks.

“That has provided a really safe atmosphere so visitors that are leaving the city are coming here knowing they will be safe when they are on vacation,” Noble said.

Although overall total numbers of visitors this year are down and the challenges of the pandemic remain, the city remains open for business.

“It is safe. We do have a lot of protocols in place. And we’re going to do our best to alter and accommodate moving into the Winter season," Noble said.

“Come to Galena. We’re open. We’re open,” Meadows said.

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