Tourism time has once again returned to Flagstaff. Even in the midst of a global pandemic our little mountain town is still seeing visitors. Tourists are seeking a change of scenery, cooler temperatures, and an opportunity to enjoy natural open spaces for recreation.
I say welcome, but please be respectful of our community
Local businesses depend on the summer tourism economy. Restaurants and hotels want to serve customers. Recreation-based businesses look to the summer months as an opportunity to thrive. Residents understand the importance of a tourist economy. But COVID-19 has changed much of what we anticipated Summer 2020 to look like. With that in mind…
- Recognize that locals are still working and living in Flagstaff. This is our home, we live here 365 and while you might be on vacation, leaving your worries behind – you are visiting us right smack in the midst of ours. We are stretched too thin, overworked, understaffed, and simply just trying to maintain our lives. Please be thoughtful in your interactions and remember that we’re doing our best right now.
- Restaurants are adapting, servers are people too. Dining options look different these days, and the wait for a table (should you elect to dine-in) may be much longer with the new social distancing recommendations for restaurants. Please, please, please do not rant and rave all over the internet about a negative experience you had at XYZ establishment. Contact the business directly to share your constructive criticism regarding your experience.
- Consider that Summer Camps and childcare options are limited. Local residents and essential workers are scrambling to secure childcare for the summer. If you’re visiting Flagstaff and looking for summer childcare options, realize that they may be few and far between. Several of our annual summer programs have had to either close completely or significantly limit the number of attendees.
- Leave no trace. There is a long and tense history of visitors enjoying our natural open spaces only to leave behind piles of trash and waste. In the winter this often includes broken plastic snow sleds. In the warmer months our creeks and hiking areas are overflowing with litter. Everything from clothing to condoms, dirty diapers to cigarettes, toilet paper to pure trash is clogging up our beautiful forests. Countless community members volunteer their efforts to pick up this waste, please do not add to the problem. In fact, I challenge you to be part of the solution and join our community effort – pick up 10 pieces of trash any time you visit a local creek or hiking trail.
- Be aware of the current COVID conditions in our community. Flagstaff is a neighboring community to the Navajo Nation* which has been hit extremely hard by COVID-19. This website is a good resource for the Navajo Nation, and we suggest visiting the Coconino County COVID-19 Dashboard for additional information. Both of these websites will give you a clearer picture of where our community is at with managing the virus, and how impacted our healthcare system is.
*If you would like to join the community effort to support the Navajo Nation COVID-19 Relief Fund, visit this site.
Flagstaff might be the recreational playground for some, but it’s also home to many.
As a resident that is passionate about Flagstaff, our community, economy, and natural spaces I urge you to be kind and considerate should you choose to visit Flagstaff this Summer. The past few months have been very hard on all of us, and while I understand your desire to exercise your choice for travel and tourism I also care deeply about my home and fellow community members.