Smokey Moutains

Great Smoky National Park Resort Area’s Plan To Reopen – Step By Step

The Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited National park in the United States, averaging 11.5 million visitors annually, 2019 numbers were historic at 12.9 million visitors. The Grand Canyon averages less than 7 million, and Yellow Stone just under 5 million for perspective. The GSNP generates, on average, 750 million in tourist dollars annually. However, in 2018-2019, it boasted 953 million in tourism and supported 13,737 jobs year-round locally. The central location of the park is nestled in Sevier county, which is surrounded by the Tri-Cities of Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and Pigeon Forge. COVID-19 drastically reduced the 2.5 billion dollar tourism industry and dramatically impacted the economic health of the area. Dolly Parton ‘s famous amusement park, “DollyWood,” located in the county, has recently laid off temporarily over 600 employees. Right Wire Report, took a look at Gatlinburg’s plan to reopen next week, April 27th and 29th.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has released the state guidelines, and Sevier County leaders applied additional ones in preparation for businesses to come back online. There will be a brief staggering with Restaurants opening on Monday, followed by retailers doing so on Wednesday. Both may only experience a 50% occupancy at any time. Here is the current status of the reopening:

For restaurants:

• Wear face coverings and gloves
• Report any symptoms of illness to supervisor
• Follow daily sanitation protocols
• Limit occupancy to 50% of seating capacity
• Space tables 6 feet apart
• Limit seating to 6 per table
• Use social distancing standards in waiting areas
• Keep bar areas closed
• No live music
• Screen customers with basic questions about COVID-19 symptoms

For retailers:

• Wear dedicated cloth face coverings, gloves, and other personal protection items as recommended by the CDC
• Report any symptoms of illness to supervisor
• Provide training on personal protective equipment based on CDC guidelines
• Sanitize hands with soap and/or hand sanitizer
• Stagger shifts, breaks, and meals to maintain social distancing Protecting Customers
• Limit customer occupancy to 50% of store capacity
• Customers should wear face coverings inside stores
• Consider shopping hours for the elderly, medically vulnerable, and health care workers
• Establish one-way aisles and traffic patterns for social distancing
• Increase curbside, pickup, and delivery service options
• Prompt customers regarding the importance of social distancing facilities, as set forth by CDC guidelines.

Sevier County officials strongly recommend closing all businesses by 11 p.m, encourage contactless payment, cleaning credit car machines between each use, and emailing receipts when possible. There will continue to be a hold on aggressive marketing tourism for the area as it gets acclimated to reopening and access risk as we go. The goal is to ramp up in phases and hopefully instill confidence in successful measures that will attract tourists back to the majestic resort area. Many private owners indicate they may use temperature checks on customers as well.

Citizens of the county recognize nature as a healing power for the body and mind but are fully accepting of the risk that cases may uptick as reopening progresses. Right Wire Report will check back in a month to report on any progress or setbacks.

 RWR original article syndication source.

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Written by Bekah Lyons

"The simple step of a courageous individual is to not take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world." Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I was born and raised in the enigma known as "The Big Easy." There, rooted along the banks of the great Mississippi River between the creeping bayou and Lake Pontchartrain, I was conscripted on all things pertaining to human nature.  I am the quintessential southern woman, that is to say, I defy most could never accurately define what that label truly represents.  Brined below sea level where one respects; the haunts lingering about, the force of storm surge, the ethos of Mardi Gras, and the sanctity of generational family-I know what it is to belong to an organically diverse culture.

Early on in life, my career path serpentined and led to brief stints of living abroad in Europe as I indulged my passions for painting, musical theater, and the culinary arts. My young experiences evolved my purpose and honed my intuitive skills and I became a Medical Professional specializing in mental health with a focus on child/adolescent needs. After living decades in NOLA, and after hurricane  Katrina unearthed the realities of modern-day inner cities, I made the pivotal decision to relocate to where my family and I spent our summers in a quest to find security and civility in my life.

High up on one of the "grandfather mountains" I now perch in a Smoky mountain community in East Tennessee. Although, I would not trade my formative years in Louisiana, unfortunately,  that era of  America  is  no longer obtainable in the times we live - changing course was the best decision "Evah!"

I am a warrior  for freedom and truth , steeped in my ancestral history ,I am constantly reminded that stillness and introspection expands the mind and heart to possess a more nuanced understanding of all things in our internal and external world. We are all destined to bash ourselves against the rotted cultural rocks of humanity's unraveling until we recognize that a shared moral tone is essential for a free society. A healthy culture is one comprised of many unique people who offer shading and depth to the experience of living, yet all choose to accept basic truths that bind us all together-a societal moral tone. Intolerance  , censorship, intersectionality, cancel culture, apathy ,and ignorance will only groom oppression and tyranny.  Critical thought, differentiation, and dissent is your individual right granted not by government -and must always be protected, championed, and defended.


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  1. To live close to the mountains is truly a blessing. I was thinking that May 1st more things would be opened. I had rented a cabin for a few days at the first of May. I did not know that things would not be open. I guess most people like myself need to call and confirm that reservation’s are honored at this time. Many places may not be opened as we thought. But there is always another day. Good information on the Smoky Moutains.

  2. Does anyone have a decent idea…, or even a guess on when the National Park will be reopened? Never been there and want to go! But I can’t invest money in plans if the park is closed. Seems like it’s a huge park.. I understand there may be congestion points. But, being outside has got to improve the situation.?

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