The city’s tourism dollars took a big hit with COVID-19 causing the cancellation of two Ironman events this year, but one local business owner is working to increase local outdoor activities that may appeal to visitors.
Jim Johnson, founder and president of Chattanooga-based business BikeTours.com — which helps people book bike tours internationally in Europe — said his business has slowed because of COVID-19.
“Some reports say that tourism is the hardest-hit industry, and that it may take years for international tourism to reach 2019 levels. However, most reports also predict huge rebounds in domestic and especially regional tourism.” — Jim Johnson, founder and president of BikeTours.com
So, Johnson is in the midst of developing a regional bicycle tour operation based in Chattanooga + focused on the Southeast.
Bike tours can be a great way to see the region’s natural beauty. | BikeTours.com
Here’s what preliminary plans look like: •Week-long bike tours, such as from Chattanooga to Atlanta or Chattanooga to Nashville • Day tours, primarily targeting people in the Chattanooga area who want to know the region better (and maybe who are ready to get outside the house) • Areas could include Sequatchie Valley, the Ocoee/Hiwassee region, Chattanooga Valley, and Chattanooga itself • Tour themes could include farming, Civil War, and Civil Rights • Some tours may have local experts, such as historians, to provide information
“We’re hoping there will be a lot of interest in the Chattanooga area for active staycations and nearby getaways.” – Johnson
Survey To get more insight into interests, preferences + experience levels, Johnson has put together this survey, which also includes questions about what will make people feel safest considering COVID-19.
ICYMI — See ya in 2021, Ironman • Since 2014, the Ironman triathlon has been happening in Chattanooga. • Each year, thousands of athletes and visitors descend on the Scenic City for the event, in which participants swim, bike + run a total of 140.6 miles. • The events take hours, with the fastest professional athletes completing the full triathlon in about eight hours. Each leg has a time limit and everyone must finish the entire race within 17 hours. • The first 70.3 event, which is a shorter version, came to Chattanooga in 2015. • The loss of the events represents a loss of $22.8 million in tourism dollars. • The Little Debbie IRONMAN full distance race has an estimated $17 million economic impact and the Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 is $5.7 million. • Both events are scheduled to come back here in 2021.
Are you comfortable participating in outdoor activities, such as bike tours, during COVID-19, if precautions are taken?
Yes. Outdoor activities are keeping me sane.
Maybe, but I want to know what precautions are being taken.
○ The Trump administration is now calling for all local leaders to mandate masks in Tennessee. (NewsChannel 9) ○ The health department reported on June 27 that four more people died of COVID-19. Two males and two females, all of whom had underlying medical conditions, died. Their ages ranged from 51-80.
○ As of Monday, June 27, Hamilton County had 5,005 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 45 deaths. View more specific Hamilton County COVID-19 data at the Health Department’s website here, and click here to see a full calendar of free testing sites in Chattanooga.
○ Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III says mask mandates are legally defensible. Slatery equates mask mandates to seat belt laws + helmet requirements for motorcyclists. Read more about Slatery’s views on mask mandates here. (WRCB)
○ On July 27, Hamilton County Schools shared a post on their Facebook page explaining why they will not require students in kindergarten, first, or second grade to wear face masks while sitting in class. The post shared that medical experts advised the county that students of that age are often prone to touching and playing with masks, which could create a more significant challenge than not wearing a mask entirely. (NewsChannel 9)
Hey, there. Looking for today’s #MustDo events? In accordance with the
CDC’s recommendations regarding public gatherings, we have decided to postpone public event coverage for the time being. We look forward to bringing you Chattanooga’s #MustDo events soon (until then, feel free to submit your virtual events
Chattanooga songwriter, producer + performer Nick Lutsko is known for his unique, captivating performances (some of which include life-sized puppets), and recently he realized the worst had happened — model and social media maven Chrissy Teigen unfollowed him on Twitter. Ouch.
So, Nick did what any good musician would — he wrote a song about it. The AV Club picked up the story and you can watch Nick’s plea to Chrissy via video here.
ComingSoon ○ The Black Cat Tap Room will be opening in the next few weeks along Brainerd Road near the Missionary Ridge tunnels alongside several other new businesses. Elea Blake Cosmetics, a custom-mixed color cosmetic store, and Hatch Outfitters, a fly fishing specialist shop, are two of the other recently opened businesses on the street. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
Civic ○ From July 17 to July 24, 284,517 Tennesseeans cast ballots in early voting for the state’s Aug. 6 election. Early voting will end on Aug. 1, and the last day to cast an absentee ballot is July 30. To find more information on the ballot, early voting sites, and absentee ballots, click here. 🗳️ (Chattanooga Times Free Press) ○ Check out this article from the Times Free Press to read about how the five 2021 Mayoral candidates plan to address police reform if elected. Monty Breull, Christopher Dahl, Russell Gilbert, Tim Kelly, and Andrew McLaren — the five candidates — each have different views on what needs to be done about police reform and budgeting. (Chattanooga Times Free Press) ○ Dozens of Chattanoogans marched downtown over the weekend to protest low wages + dangerous working conditions for low-income workers, workers of color, and essential workers amid the pandemic. Protesters demanded better wages + working conditions for workers during and after the pandemic, especially for members of the Black and Latino communities, who account fordisproportionately high rates of COVID-19 and unemployment. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
Number ○ $1.85. Chattanooga gas prices have fallen almost three centsin the past week, averaging $1.85 per gallon now. Prices in Chattanooga are 9.8 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. Click here for more Chattanooga gas price information. ⛽ (The Pulse)
State ○ The Tennessee Department of Human Services is extending the deadline to apply for Pandemic EBT assistance to Aug. 14. The P-EBT program provides families who did not receive meals when their schools closed with extra resources to replace these lost meals. Families can apply for the program here. (NewsChannel 9) ○ The Tennessee Department of Agriculture recently shared in a Facebook post that Tennesseeans are receiving seeds in the mail from other countries that they did not order. If you receive seeds that you did not order, do not plant or handle them. The Department of Agriculture asks that you seal the seeds in two plastic sandwich bags + hang onto them until the department receives guidance from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. If you’d like, you can also report it here.
TheBuy ○ The Chef and his Wife will be celebrating Christmas in July by giving customers 15% off through Aug. 1 online (use promo code 15off) + at their Hixson store location. The Chef and his Wife will also be working on new items that are gluten-free + keto. ○ Tennessee’s annual tax-free weekends are just around the corner as the 2020 school year approaches. From July 31 to August 2, up to $200 worth of clothing + other back-to-school items can be purchased tax-free. Restaurant food + drink will be tax-free August 7 to 9. For more information and to see what qualifies as a tax-free purchase, click here.
ForPets ○ Union, a little “superhero” dog who can’t use his back legs and uses a wheelchair to move, was finally adopted from the McKamey Animal Center. Union was surrendered to McKamey earlier this year after being attacked in his old backyard by a bigger dog, causing him to lose function of his back legs. Union’s new owners were surprised when their adoption fees were paid for by Top This Construction, a local roofing company that recently started sponsoring adoptions of special needs pets. (Chattanoogan.com)
Drink ○All-natural green juice cleanse Organifi Green Juice is a fresh-tasting, 100% USDA certified organic superfood blend loaded with vitamins, minerals + antioxidants from 11 carefully-chosen superfoods. 250,000+ customers have kicked off their day with the detoxing green stuff.Shop here. Ⓟ
NOOGAdiaries day No. 19: Dear Diary, your girl Chloé here, and all I have to say is that Taylor Swift’s new album, “Folklore” is a brilliant bright spot in a year that deserves a few four-letter descriptive words I can’t write in this newsletter. If you’ve listened, which is your favorite lyric? And why? Email me so we can gush.
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