In March, officials in the popular mountain playgrounds of Valley County did something unusual. They asked people to stay away.
With Governor Brad Little’s isolation order in place, the mountain towns asked folks not to overload the infrastructure of the small towns of McCall, Cascade, Donnelly and other locations.
Now, with travel advisories expiring this week, and a summer season on deck, officials are again welcoming folks — with caution.
“We want everyone to help spread love, not COVID-19,” McCall Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau Marketing Director McKenzie Kraemer said. “There are a lot of variables right now, so understanding what businesses and recreation areas are open, closed, or have new protocols in place will help limit surprises and make time spent in our communities much more enjoyable.”
A coalition that includes Visit McCall, Cascade Chamber, Valley County, and others launched a new website. The site provides basic information for visitors, with links to other organizations.
Officials want folks to follow social distancing guidelines, wear a mask in public, wash hands and stay home if sick.
“We are excited to start seeing visitors return to McCall, Donnelly, Cascade, Yellow Pine and New Meadows,” Kraemer says. “We know the West Central Mountains hold a special place in a lot of hearts and we want to ensure we’re taking the necessary steps to protect anyone who lives here or comes to visit.
Shore Lodge changes
Some businesses and recreation spots in the area already outlined changes. Shore Lodge posted a detailed plan that includes flexible cancelation policies and a number of physical changes to the resort.
Added staff will disinfect surfaces and monitor social distancing standards in the lobby. Managers reconfigured restaurants with new floorplans. Menus will now be single-use and silverware will be delivered in sealed packages.
In the rooms, teams removed all glassware and enacted a new cleaning plan.
“We understand the challenges this creates for all of us, but our priority is to minimize any exposure and to get our country and community back in full swing,” Shore Lodge President Tom Garcia wrote in a letter.