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Some Eureka Springs, Ark. businesses bring back COVID-19 protocols

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 4:54 PM CDT
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EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (KY3) - Businesses in downtown Eureka Springs are requiring employees to wear masks as COVID-19 cases rise.

Eureka Springs is in the midst of tourist season, and while many shop main street unmasked, several businesses are stepping back. The Crescent Basin Hotels re-implemented COVID-19 protocols this week out of protection of their employees and comfortably of tourists.

”As numbers ticked up, we felt it was time to act in a responsible manner,” said Jack Moyer who is the general manager of the Crescent Basin Hotel.

Aside from requiring employees to wear masks, protocols also include putting out signs and sanitizing stations.

”This is a significant issue, and we want to be a leader in responsible travel,” said Moyer. “We hope others will follow suit, because travel is vital to Eureka Springs, especially this time of year.

It is a decision some tourists like Fonda and Donnie Cauthron appreciate.

”I just don’t think people are taking it serious,” said Fonda.

The two, residents of Preston, Missouri, have seen the effects of the virus firsthand among close friends and church members. They had a trip to Eureka Springs scheduled for a while, but almost decided to cancel with recent spike in cases.

”It worried us at first and we almost cancelled,” they explained. “But we both had our vaccinations and are being very cautious, wearing our masks.”

They carry sanitizer. They also social distance. They wish more would take those precautions.

”Well like we just did the train ride, and there was one other lady that had her mask on besides us,” said Cauthron.

Some businesses are even requiring masks to be worn by customers for entry. An owner of one of those businesses is Dina Landis, who has owned various stores in Eureka Springs for over 35 years.

”I have chosen to stick with a mask mandate for my shop,” she said. “It’s hard on business, I know I’m losing business because of it.”

Landis says she will continue to prioritize her health and the health of others. She appreciates other businesses taking similar steps to address the issue.

”It is some steps, but you still have people coming into your shop,” said Landis. “You’re protecting some of your customers and employees. But you’re not protecting all of your customers.”

Efforts are being made to get people vaccinated with businesses sponsoring vaccine clinics and offering incentives for employees who get the shot.

”We also have an owner here who cares passionately about it, so everybody who works for us who gets the vaccine will also get a $50 incentive card as a thank you from her,” said Landis.

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