Saving summertime amidst COVID-19 restrictions

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Freeman: ‘Re-falling in love with what we have to offer’

Social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions don’t have to ruin summertime, as Barry County’s main activities and attractions are already accommodating.

While families have dealt with the stress of quarantine, a wellness break from school and a hit to local businesses, they are now looking for options to stay safe and get out of the house.

Rachael Freeman, Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce director, said the area is extremely fortunate to have activities that the community thrives on that can still be enjoyed at this time.

“Roaring River is in our back yard, and there are a lot of activities in that area to take advantage of,” she said. “On the evening of May 15 they began restocking the river with trout.”

Once that was announced, the RV parks began filling up and filling up fast.

“Since then, it has been a steady stream of campers from Memorial Day to July Fourth,” she said. “Cabins have followed suit in the trend.

“Of the lodging community that are Chamber members, we have seen an impressive sense of community and working together.”

Campers are being referred to other locations in the area when one is full, and they are in constant communication with each other to serve the community the best way possible.

“They want people to experience Roaring River one way or another,” she said. “With COVID-19, nationwide tourism has taken a hit, but we are fortunate that our tourism is different from theme parks.”

When people fish, camp or hike, they generally want to stay at least six feet apart.

“I have also heard of people just driving through the park and looking at the scenery or finding a place to sit and read a book or have a picnic,” she said. “We are so fortunate that Roaring River is in our back yard and this has reminded us to not take it for granted.”

Additionally, Shell Knob and the lake has seen a spike in tourism since April.

“It’s like every weekend is Memorial Day weekend,” she said. “People are on their boats and enjoying the water. It is like our community is re-falling in love with what we have to offer.”

The area is seeing local families re-connect with local attractions.

“We are fortunate to have the great outdoors to utilize,” she said. “People were getting burnt out working from home, and they needed a change of scenery. It is nice to drive seven miles and to have that change we all need at times.”

It can be easy to forget how much children have been affected by COVID-19, they may love video games, but they enjoy the outdoors too.

“It is a way to reconnect with the family too, and to try new things — like fly fishing,” she said. “Continue to enjoy the activities you already like or try a new one, there are plenty of things to choose from.”

Other activities in the area include:

• Disc Golf

• Golf

• Table Rock Lake

• Swimming

• Fishing

• Trails and the greenway

• Roaring River

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