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Wisconsin tourism officials encourage people to not travel to seasonal homes

(Courtesy: WI Dept. of Tourism)
(Courtesy: WI Dept. of Tourism)(NBC15)
Published: May. 24, 2020 at 4:18 PM CDT
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Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer and lake season. As home to more than 15,000 lakes Wisconsin is a destination for lake goers, many owning second homes throughout the state.

Travel Wisconsin urged people to stay at their permanent residences when the 'safer at home' order was first announced in March and a month later the department's stance hasn't changed.

"Straight up answer, as the Wisconsin Department of Tourism we are not advising that people travel outside their home communities to recreate," Sara Meaney, Secretary of Wisconsin Department of Tourism, said.

Meaney said that although the communities get a lot of economic benefit from seasonal residents some of the healthcare systems in those communities are not equipped to handle more than the year-round population. Meaney added that is why people need to be mindful of where they are traveling and remember the consequences of those choices.

"As one single individual can say while what harm can it be to go to my lake cabin on the other side of the state well what is it that we do once we get there... we go to the grocery store, we go to the bait shop, we go to restaurants, we go to regional parks in the area and those are all possible points of threat," Meaney said.

Although people cannot be stopped from traveling, Meaney said that the department encourages people to call ahead to the city or town you're traveling to and see what orders they have in place. On top of that remember to social distance, wear a face mask and wash your hands frequently.

"What we do know about how the virus spreads tells us a lot but the human to human contact that's really what we're working to reduce and if a person from Milwaukee goes to Vilas County and doesn't know that a week and a half ago they were exposed to COVID-19 they just brought COVID-19 to a new community," Meaney said.

Wisconsin Department of Tourism stated that summer tourism will look different this year, but people continuing to support local businesses and restaurants helps the states economy.

"Data shows us that about 50 percent of travelers in the state are Wisconsinites, so when you support your home community you are supporting the state and the economy," Meaney said. "That's the best way to help right now."

More information about Wisconsin Department of Tourism's travel recommendations

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