Reopening Visitor Centers: Frequently-Asked Questions

Communities across America have started reopening their businesses and inviting visitors in. While this is exciting, it can also cause a bit of anxiety.

Beth Wiles, Executive Director of Pulaski County Tourism Bureau, recently joined Tempest in a webinar to learn how destinations are reopening their visitors centers and what best practices and guidelines they are following. 

She followed up with us to share more insights gleaned from her first-hand experience with reopening and overcoming the anxiety that some staff might be feeling.

1. How were employees told about the new procedures?

All staff received the COVID Center Flyer initially. Beth called some of the more anxious staff to talk with one on one before being asked to return to the office.  She thought it helped ease some anxiety to have an honest conversation about any worries they might have and she shared her experience with running the Center alone for 2 days.

Once staff were back at the office, they received the full Operating Procedures and Beth or another staff member would do a full walk through of the processes.

2. How did you deal with any anxiety you and your staff had?

“It's all about presentation and smiling eyes!”

Beth Wiles, Pulaski County Tourism Bureau

Beth admits to being nervous before coming back to the office. Her husband had done all of the shopping and the news can be a little scary, especially after being remote for months.  

The new procedure plan felt a bit like marching into war! Beth was confident in the procedure plan, but it was strange to be wearing a mask and she missed sharing and seeing smiles. 

The good news - it was not at all like marching into war. “It's all about presentation and smiling eyes!”

3. How do you share your new procedures with visitors?

The COVID flyer is available at the center in case someone has a question or would like to take it with them. The Visitor Center has outdoor and center signage posted to remind visitors of social distancing and personal care such as wearing a mask and washing your hands. 

Staff is also following a strict plan to help welcome guests safely:

  • Staff greets every visitor as they enter and offers hand sanitizer. 
  • All staff are currently wearing a mask or face covering and using hand sanitizer when a visitor enters. 
  • Each visitor is asked to complete a survey for health department tracking purposes. 
  • Staff is currently doing all of the brochure and information gathering for visitors and sanitizing after each visitor leaves.  

As your community looks to you for resources on recovery and reopening, we hope these additional insights from Pulaski County Tourism Bureau are helpful.  For additional information on recovery strategies, visit our recent blog on recovery strategies and examples.  Stay tuned at Tempest.im for additional COVID-19 resources and news about upcoming webinars.  

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