“I can never remember a time in recent or past history when we’ve told people please don’t come to Door County,” Door County Board Chair David Lienau said Monday, “It’s not in our nature to tell people not to come here.”
But with the first case of the coronavirus confirmed in Door County, that’s exactly what has happened.
“We’re asking, in particular the second home owners that may live someone else for their place of record residence not to come to Door County during this period of time,” Lienau said.
The tourism-centered economy of Door County has already taken some hits ahead of the Summer months.
“A lot of cancellations, well into June and July at a lot of our hotel motels already as people just don’t know what’s going to happen,” Lienau said.
Even with the cancellations, county leadership is hoping to protect the population from the worst of the pandemic.
“The population’s 25 percent older on average than the rest of the state and even the nation,” Chief Andy Bertges of the Town of Gibraltar Fire Department said. “Obviously the coronavirus does impact the older population more than the younger population.”
Over a video interview, Lienau added, “we have a 25 bed hospital that can certainly surge up some, but it’s not made for large influxes of hundreds and hundreds of people.”
The county is also taking measures to help protect its full-time residents, through the Door County Emergency Support Coalition.
The Coalition has established a non-emergency helpline to help residents navigate the pandemic.
“The biggest thing that we’ve been helping the community with I think is food deliveries,” Chief Bertges said.
294 volunteers are currently helping to answer the helpline, which can be reached at 920-421-9111 or 920-756-6927 .
The call center is there to help resident through what county officials hope will be a short-lived pandemic.
“If we do it all socially responsibly, hopefully we’ll be able to get through it sooner rather than later,” Lienau said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to welcome back our visitors and second homeowners sooner.”