Many small-town tourism businesses continue to struggle

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VERSAILLES Ky. (WTVQ) – It’s been more than five months since COVID-19 began to change the way we live.

People have lost their jobs. Testing has become a common word and some of the foundations of our economy are on the brink.

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Tourism is the life blood for small towns. And since the spring, it has been hurting. Pattie Carter is the Co-Owner of the Marketplace on Main in Versailles she says, “Business has been pretty slow. A lot of our business is tourism from out of state.”

Versailles depends of visitors to its horse country, bourbon distilleries and small-town charm. Visitors haven’t been coming.

“We’re probably 25 to 30% down right now I would say but were trying to find ways to bring people in.”

Some of those ideas include ‘COVID Clearance Sales’ or ‘Mask Madness.’ It’s not just Carter’s store. The City of Versailles has noticed and is distributing CARES Act funding to businesses in need. Even so being open has its own challenges.

“It’s hard even to order things because even for like two months a lot of our distributors were closed so it was hard to even buy things to put in our shop.”

Adding every local business needs local support. “Get out and support your local businesses because we’re really depending on you all to make our business stay alive.”

In addition to business grants, the City is promoting downtown walking tours and special nights to try to attract visitors and encourage local residents to go out. But even with efforts to salvage what it can, businesses expect to be down for the year.

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Meteorologist Justin Roth weather forecasts can be seen weekend evenings on ABC 36 at 6:30 PM at 11 PM. Justin will also forecast the weather at 10 PM (MyKY 36.2) three days a week. Justin comes to WTVQ from the NBC affiliate in Casper, WY and interned in Knoxville, TN all where he gained the understandings of forecasting mountainous terrains and rapidly changing environments. His forecasts are for YOUR day and making YOUR life just a bit easier. Justin was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from Western Illinois University with Minors in Broadcasting and Mathematics. His interest in weather began at a young age when his parents gave him a book, ‘First Field Guide To Weather’ for his Birthday, ever since then weather has been a passion of his from forecasting to chasing tornadoes. When not forecasting the weather, Justin enjoys exploring new places and anything outdoors. He’s a self-proclaimed history buff and loves rooting for favorite sport teams, The St. Louis Cardinals and Blues. Please feel free to share any outdoor picture you’d like to share with him send them his way at JRoth@wtvq.com And be sure to follow him: Twitter - @JustinRothWx Instagram - @JustinRothWx