Last week, the Prestonsburg Tourism committee met virtually to discuss what has been going on regarding tourism inside the city, as well as what plans are being made now that the winter months are right around the corner.

During its regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 11, the Prestonsburg Tourism committee met virtually, due to the county’s continued rise in positive COVID-19 cases. The meeting included a number of updates regarding what has been going on in downtown Prestonsburg recently, as well as where the committee will be shifting its focus now that the winter months, and Black Friday, are right around the corner.

Floyd Tourism Director Samantha Johnson thanked the tourism committee for adapting towards the virtual meeting, with the growing number of positive cases of the COVID-19 virus spreading throughout Floyd and other counties, as well as the nation.

“Thank you guys for adapting well,” Johnson said. “We decided to go on the side of caution just as numbers are rising.”

According to Johnson, the committee was able to purchase some new signage for downtown, as a part of the Downtown Initiative Grant that Prestonsburg Tourism was awarded earlier this year. Johnson added that hopefully within the next month those will be in and placed. The signs, she added will highlight health, food, recreation and other things. Those signs will be placed at the majority of intersections downtown and Prestonsburg public works is already geared up to get the signage placed in correct locations, once it arrives.

According to Prestonsburg Mayor Les  Stapleton, who attended the virtual meeting, the newly-opened Prestonsburg Passage trail recently received its new signage, which will be placed throughout the trail. The signage features caution, general rules and the Passage’s logo, which Johnson said was specifically designed for the trail. Stapleton added that the signage, in total, cost around $6,800.

Recently, the city held a trunk or treat event for individuals to have a safe way to enjoy Halloween. According to Isabella Jacobs who works for the city, Prestonsburg’s recent Halloween event saw more than 400 cars visit the Mountain Arts Center for its socially-distanced trunk-or-treat. She added that, with the number of family members visiting within the same vehicle, approximately 1,200 people came through.

“We would have liked for more people to have been able to to come out and participate,” Jacobs said. “But, with COVID-19, we understand people wanting to be as safe as possible.

“So far, no positive COVID-19 tests have came back and been traced to the trunk-or-treat,” she added.

Last week, Johnson said, Prestonsburg just finished up PBurger Week, which saw a number of restaurants in the city come up with and sell their very own respective burger. Johnson said that support for the week-long event was a success and the city restaurants saw some participation from individuals in surrounding counties. According to the tourism committee’s Facebook page , Giovani’s, located on North Lake Dr. and its Pizza Power Burger claimed the title of “Best Burger” in the city after receiving the most votes from Tourism’s online poll.

With November nearly complete and winter steadily approaching, if not already here, ohnson said that Prestonsburg Tourism will begin shifting towards its Christmas Promotions, now that winter is right around the corner. One event which will be highlighted is the Christmas Lights at Archer Park, which the city hosts every year, those are expected to be turned on sometime Thanksgiving Day evening.

“Winter time is tough on tourism … so this is when we begin focusing more locally and we are working to figure out a smart marketing plan right now that can help restaurants and businesses,” Johnson said. “So we’re working on that, and it’s going to be great.”

Johnson said the organization needs to determine how small businesses are going to navigate through Black Friday, and the days to follow, in light of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. She said that tourism is working with the businesses to figure out what would work best and ultimately, Johnson added that she would support what each individual business though would be best.

“I don’t think that’s our spot to say what an individual business should do,” Johnson said. “We just ask that as much as possible, you guys comply if COVID-19 regulations, while keeping hospitality a top priority and we’l’ create a marketing plan around what everyone feels is best for them.”

Johnson added that she would reach out to some more cities such as Morehead and Georgetown to inquire about how they plan on handling the upcoming holiday push, especially regarding small businesses.

The next Prestonsburg Tourism meeting is scheduled to take place at noon, Dec. 8.

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