Idlewild Tours Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
For the past 13 years, Idlewild Tours has provided public and private tourism in Idlewild, Michigan. There is no doubt that our upcoming business efforts are to be impacted by the decline in the travel and tourism industry due to the emergence of the Covid-19 outbreak, also known as the “Corona Virus”. To be responsible citizens and to adhere by the Governors Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order, we will be implementing some changes in the way we conduct tourism and activities for the 2020 tourism season.
Hours of Operation
The tourism industry is not expected to recover quickly from this global pandemic. Many of our customers are school field trips, which have all be canceled for the year. This has drastically impacted nature of the tourism business to Lake County. Our hours of operation for Idlewild Tours will be reduced to Monday – Saturday, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm, closed on Thursdays, and by appointment only on Sundays.
May 23 – 25: Idlewild Beautification Weekend
Our tourism season always opens with a community clean-up project, which promotes community service and community beautification. For this reason, we have adopted a 2-mile stretch of road on MLK Blvd. in the heart of Idlewild. Due to the need for protective equipment when in public, HITS will not be hosting in-person volunteers. We will still offer community service hours for volunteers to serve. Instead of a group of people in a clean-up parade as usual, residents are encouraged to beautify their surrounding areas by picking up trash, cutting down weeds, planting flowers, and other beautification ideas they may have. In order to receive community service hours, RSVP to the event on our website to be a “volunteer”. HITS will send you instructions to complete your beautification service to receive volunteer credit.
June 19-21: Idlewild Juneteenth Festival
The biggest change in our services involves the potential cancellation of the Idlewild Juneteenth Festival, which is expected to make a return this season after a 3-year hiatus. Juneteenth is a time for celebration and social gathering, which is why it is most responsible to monitor this situation. Before we cancel the 2020 Juneteenth Festival, we will look for alternatives and hope the executive order is lifted by then and it is safe. In order to adhere by federal social distancing control measures, we are encouraged to re-think the Juneteenth Celebration and other activities that encourage social gatherings. We want to promote a safe and healthy environment. Juneteenth is also about education and awareness therefore HITS continue to promote African American cultural heritage in some shape or form.
Public vs Private Tours
The tourism industry expects a significant downturn in travel and tourism, and with the contagious virus on the loose, it is best for HITS not to host any public tours where customers can encounter other people they do not know. With this said, we will continue our private tours option, and limit guests to 5 people per tour. Additionally, all tours will require an advance reservation and will collect contact information on all participants (not just the person paying.) Private tours will be available starting June 1, 2020 – so long as the federal and state orders allow our operation.
HITS is working to stay in business and develop alternative tourism options going forward. Please visit www.idlewildtours.com for up-to-date information regarding HITS and our available services and to support Idlewild Tourism.
Micala Evans Cochran
Owner and Operator
Historical Idlewild Tours and Services, LLC.