CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia’s winter tourism season is here and that means some of the state’s ski resorts are now open, with most slated to be operating by Saturday. This year… as with everything else… there will be additional safety guidelines because of COVID-19.
“One of the main things are face coverings. We will be having face coverings in the lift lines, on the lifts, inside all the restaurants. All the various protocol for the restaurants and the lodging areas are also being followed,” said Joe Stevens, of the West Virginia Ski Areas Association.
Every other tow or lift-line will be empty, so that skiers are socially distanced. The ski industry generates 250 million dollars a year in revenue and creates approximately 5-thousand seasonal jobs. But it’s not just skiing, the state park system has been offering big discounts for cabins, lodges and gift cards to state residents for months and will continue certain deals and discounts through winter.
“We’ve seen this great trend over the past couple of months of people really getting outside and enjoying West Virginia. So, West Virginians who have traditionally vacationed elsewhere, have stayed home and have really been able to understand what a jewel we have in our own backyard,” said Chelsea Ruby, West Virginia Tourism Commissioner.
All told, West Virginia’s tourism industry generates 4-and-a-half billion dollars a year in economic activity.
“Ever since COVID-19 began the number of West Virginians booking trips to state parks, cabins and campgrounds, has increased by more than 200 percent, generating multiple-millions of dollars,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.