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Lansing area losing millions in tourism during coronavirus crisis

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Posted at 5:31 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 09:53:26-04

LANSING, Mich. — President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants the lockdowns around the country to end by Easter to keep the economy from getting worse.

The pandemic is expected to cost Mid-Michigan millions of dollars in tourism alone.

The pandemic has crippled our industry," said Julie Pingston, President and CEO of the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Pingston said tourism normally brings more than $682 million a year to the region.

"Most meetings have been cancelled or postponed until mid to late May right now so we are working on rescheduling with people," she said.

More than 90% of the hotel rooms in Lansing are open.

Pingston said everyone is getting hit with the coronavirus shutdowns.

"Our visitors get out in our community and hit everywhere. Since they're not able to do that, and our businesses are closed, that makes it very difficult," said Pingston.

The biggest events impacted so far are sporting events, including the Lansing Lugnuts season, which is postponed.

The team's general manager Tyler Parsons said he gets the need to push things back.

"With all the unpredictability that's going on with our season in baseball public health and safety trumps all of that. That is more important," said Parsons.

Many shows at the Wharton Center are also cancelled because of coronavirus crisis, including the first two weeks of Wicked.

Spokesman Bob Hoffman said this is something that happens all the time in theater.

"In the performing arts business, that happens all the time. We add shows all the time and then subtract them. Even without putting them out there for the public. So we're used to shows cancelling," said Hoffman.

It's still not clear how much money will be lost when the outbreak ends.

Pingston said the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau is still working on promoting Lansing so visitors will be ready to come once the stay at home order is lifted.

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