Lehigh Valley sights adapt to pandemic

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A number of vacationer sights within the Lehigh Valley are open and adapting to new circumstances introduced on by COVID-19.

Misplaced River Caverns, ArtsQuest and the Nationwide Museum of Industrial Historical past have been closed from March till June as a result of pandemic. This brought on main disruptions to enterprise and reduces in income. 

Robert Gilman, proprietor of Misplaced River Caverns in Hellertown, stated the limestone cave often will get quite a lot of guests by way of summer time camps and faculty area journeys, however as a result of cancellation of summer time camps and the swap to distant studying, visitorship hasn’t been the identical. 

Gilman stated there may be concern about enterprise within the spring as properly. As a result of many Lehigh Valley college students are studying remotely now, they must catch up within the second half of the varsity 12 months. Even when faculties run in particular person this spring, Gilman believes academics gained’t really feel they’ve sufficient time to schedule area journeys. 

Nonetheless, Gilman stated native residents are in quest of actions to do throughout this time.

“I feel we’ve seen a good demand as a result of individuals are getting a bit stir loopy from being cooped up for therefore lengthy,” Gilman stated. “There aren’t quite a lot of issues they’ll do.”

Curt Mosel, chief working officer at ArtsQuest, stated they’re struggling. ArtsQuest’s annual price range is about $23 million, nonetheless, he estimates its income this 12 months will likely be about between $four million and $5 million. 

“We’re being impacted considerably,” Mosel stated.

Musikfest, the annual music pageant hosted by ArtsQuest, often brings in wherever from a million to 1.2 million individuals over the course of 10 days, however was held nearly this 12 months. 

Whereas limitations on capability and social distancing tips have disrupted most of the normal occasions ArtsQuest provides, the non-profit group has discovered different methods to get the group concerned. 

Mosel stated ArtsQuest hosted digital artwork lessons, broadcasted live shows on Service Electrical Cable TV and streamed live shows on-line. In addition they had some in-person programming for Musikfest with outside eating and invited distributors who bought meals to-go.   

At the moment, ArtsQuest will likely be holding the annual Christkindlmarkt six weeks early. The market opened on Oct. eight and can run by way of Thanksgiving with a purpose to reap the benefits of the hotter climate.

Within the close to future, ArtsQuest hopes to proceed a lot of its traditions and introduce some new ones. 

“We hope to have the ability to provide indoor eating with music on the newly renovated first flooring of the ArtsQuest middle,” Mosel stated. “We hope to proceed to attempt to do some issues with motion pictures. We’re how we will do eating within the Musikfest Cafe with stay music up there the place we usually do about 100 ticketed live shows a 12 months.” 

For the Nationwide Museum of Industrial Historical past, demand has been “hit and miss,” stated Glenn Koehler, director of Advertising and marketing and Public Relations.

“Generally, we don’t have a visitorship that actually packs the museum except we’re holding a speaker program or one thing like that,” Koehler stated. 

Nevertheless, Koehler stated Metal Weekend, the museum’s annual celebration of Metal Day, which happened Sept. 28 and 29 this 12 months, was profitable when it comes to turnout. 

As of now, the museum is operating on shortened hours to permit for further cleansing time. Masks are necessary, social distancing between totally different events is enforced and hand sanitizing stations and plexiglass obstacles have been put in. Guests can even purchase tickets on-line now and have them scanned from their telephones.

“I’m certain everybody’s sick of the time period ‘new regular,’” Koehler stated. “However we’ve eased into it. We’ve slowly gotten again to type of regular.”

When Koehler first heard COVID-19 would possibly shut down companies, he started working on digital lectures. 

Koehler instantly began reaching out to audio system he believed would curiosity the museum’s audience on subjects like engineering and business. The museum was capable of begin on-line lectures inside a couple of days.

“One in every of our first talks was truly a Lehigh grad,” Koehler stated. “He did a speak about how Bethlehem Metal dealt with the 1918 flu pandemic. Because of what the corporate did for the city, Bethlehem had one of many lowest mortality charges on the earth.” 

The museum additionally added digital youth packages and a 3-D tour of the museum on-line for these uncomfortable with coming in-person. In whole, the museum programmed over 30 hours of unique content material, and individuals are interacting with these on-line packages from all around the world. 

At the moment, the museum is engaged on opening its outside park, which is able to include artifacts from Homer Analysis Laboratories, as soon as the biggest metal testing laboratory on the earth, positioned at what’s now Lehigh’s Mountaintop Campus.

The Nationwide Museum of Industrial Historical past has additionally welcomed a few of its employees again in restricted capability. A lot of the workers are working from house, however the entrance desk is being managed in-person, gallery guides have returned and a few behind-the-scenes jobs are being finished in-person as properly. 

Welcoming employees again when reopening was a bit totally different for Misplaced River Caverns. Gilman stated there have been employees members who have been hesitant to come back again to work out of concern for his or her well being and security. He stated, nonetheless, this has not posed any issues. 

With a lot uncertainty, nonetheless, there stays a way of optimism. 

Mosel doesn’t imagine the pandemic has modified the spirit of Bethlehem. He believes the realm rallied round itself earlier than within the early 1980s when Bethlehem Metal was in decline. 

“I feel the Lehigh Valley is extremely resilient and really supportive of one another in each method,” Mosel stated. “It may be and will likely be a giant motive that, after we come out of this, quite a lot of companies will survive and can proceed to be supported. Individuals are stepping up.”

OMG is consistently cementing what Social-First means, the way it positively transforms society over the long-term and most significantly, it should be the industrial mannequin companies convert to. The ethics we stay by, form our values and tradition. We have now made nice strides due to the help we obtain from the general public.



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