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Slowdown in Kentucky tourism could have long-lasting impact

The 2020 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is one of the events that has been canceled this...
The 2020 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is one of the events that has been canceled this year due to COVID-19 concerns. (Photo: WKYT/Victor Puente)(WKYT)
Published: Apr. 30, 2020 at 12:36 PM EDT
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So far, the Kentucky Tourism Cabinet has only had to shut down two state parks: Natural Bridge, and Cumberland Falls.

They’ve implemented a lot of changes, however, at other parks across the state.

The Secretary of the Kentucky Tourism Arts & Heritage Cabinet Mike Berry says they’ve instituted more restrictive hours, and there will be no overnight visitors for the foreseeable future.

They don’t have an exact number on how much this will cost the state financially, but they expect the impact will be felt for years to come.

Part of the taxes paid to stay at those parks goes to promoting the state, so that money has been heavily impacted.

They’ve also had to cancel some major events, like the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day event which was supposed to happen last week at the Kentucky Horse Park

Secretary Berry says once things do start open back up it may be sometime before crowds are involved.

“We are going to follow what the governor suggests, and the folks that are in public health,” Says Secretary Berry. “As a result, the events may look different, they may feel different, we may be having events that don’t have crowds there, but you may have a way to watch your favorite horse show even if you can’t attend it.”

Berry says they have been able to use some rooms at state parks to allow first responders to have a place to stay while they are working during the pandemic, so they don’t potentially expose their families. They’ve helped more than 70 people that way.