Virginia’s first lady works to boost tourism safely amid pandemic

Virginia’s first lady is urging you to travel safely amid the pandemic.

Pamela Northam spoke in support of the state’s tourism industry at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria.

“Right now is a great time to get families outdoors,” she said, suggesting activities, such as walking tours of cities like Alexandria. “It’s always safety first, but the data looks now predominantly like outdoor spaces are the safest,” provided that masks and distancing are used, she said.

It comes as Virginia, like all states, deals with the impact of the pandemic.

“The projected (tourism) loss for 2020 is $12.6 billion statewide,” said Rita McClenny, CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, “which is a 47% drop compared to 2019.”

Under that scenario, 79,000 jobs supported by tourism spending would be lost.

Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday also announced numerous grants to organizations that support tourism, in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford and Fauquier counties.

Organizations in the Town of Culpeper and City of Fredericksburg also received grants.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP.

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