From Texas Public Radio:
COVID-19 cases have hit a new peak in Texas as more establishments opened for business. But not all places are feeling the impact equally.
Fredericksburg is in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. It relies on well-to-do tourists who like to escape from the big cities. The local hospital has 10 ICU beds and four ventilators. About 11,000 people live in the area.
At the beginning of June — two weeks before increased coronavirus cases were reported across Texas — Fredericksburg’s visitor and convention bureau was open to the public.
Amanda Koone is the bureau’s director of communication. She said the town has moved into the recovery phase — and is doing a soft marketing push out of respect for the local community.
“As far as marketing materials go and pushing messaging, up until this point we’ve been — we’ve been silent,” she said. “We just didn’t feel like it was an appropriate time to market visitation to Fredericksburg.”
They didn’t need to. Visitation started to pick up by Memorial Day weekend.
The Gillespie County Airport in Fredericksburg never closed, but two weeks ago, more and more visitors were flying in on tiny prop planes from Houston, Dallas and other major cities.
Gwen Fullbrook runs a flight school at the airport. She also owns a mortgage company and a bed and breakfast closer to downtown.
Her bed and breakfast saw a wave of cancellations in March.
“Well, just people started calling and canceling and emailing and canceling, and it was the same way with every place in town,” she said, “and it was just bizarre.”
She said weekends are still slow at the bed and breakfast, but she did see an uptick over the holiday weekend.