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Park County's tourism numbers are slowly increasing as the state reopens.

Yellowstone National Park kept its gates closed until mid-May and both of its entrances in Wyoming opened for day use only.

Park County Travel Council Executive Director Claudia Wade said since then Cody and the county have seen a steady increase of tourists but nothing like what was originally predicted.

Hotel slowdowns alone could cost states in the Mountain West more than $1.7 billion in tax revenue this year, according to an analysis commissioned by the American Hotel and Lodging Association.


Jacob W. Frank / NPS

Tourism is the second largest industry in the state and has been hit hard by COVID-19. Wyoming Office of Tourism's Diane Shober said the tourism outlook for this summer was grim when COVID-19 first hit.

National Park Service

Tourism numbers are helping the state out at a crucial time.

That's according to Gov. Mark Gordon, who in a press conference on Tuesday, June 16, said, business owners across the state are reporting higher sales tax from tourism than what was expected under the ongoing pandemic.

Yellowstone National Park/Creative Commons

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer, and an influx of tourists are expected to come through the state to visit some of Wyoming's national parks. But as with everything, this year is a little different.

Flickr Creative Commons/The Red Baron

Last week, Gov. Mark Gordon gave variances to most counties allowing them to lift restrictions on some businesses, and officials said he'll lift more by the end of the week. But Wyoming Business Council CEO Josh Dorrell said it could take a while for the state's economy to truly get back on its feet, not just because customers are wary but because business owners will be trying to figure out how best to safely reopen.

Flickr Creative Commons/Jasperdo

Governor Mark Gordon gave county officials permission to apply for variances so they can begin lifting pandemic restrictions. Church services can now be held in Platte and Niobrara Counties, and Lincoln, Park and Natrona Counties will allow restaurants to offer dine-in services. 

Flickr Creative Commons/Dubois Drugs

When a business folds, normally the owner doesn't qualify for unemployment, but since the COVID-19 crisis hit, the federal government through the CARES Act has changed that. Now, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services (DWS) is preparing to roll out a system to help the self-employed, gig workers and contract workers get the aid they need to survive the pandemic.

Flickr Creative Commons/She Paused For Thought

In the last round of stimulus funds from the federal government, 7,618 Wyoming businesses received money from the Paycheck Protection Program, injecting more than $837 million into the state’s economy that business leaders hope will help soften the blow of the pandemic. 

Wyoming Business and Industry Federation

Chambers of Commerce across the state are taking steps to ensure local businesses survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The Wyoming Business and Industry Federation is made up of several chambers of commerce and advocates for businesses in the state. It's developed a two-phase plan.

Flickr Creative Commons/Jordan Barab

It's unknown exactly how many immigrant workers have been laid off in Wyoming in recent weeks, but it's likely quite high, according to Jackson immigration attorney Reilly Ward with Trefonas Law, especially since Teton County's service industry saw large numbers of layoffs.

Flickr Creative Commons/lucas-dtown2

The number of unemployment insurance claims has spiked due to the number of people getting laid off in response to the pandemic, mostly in the leisure and hospitality industry, according to a special report by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services released last week.

State of Wyoming

As the state and nation battle COVID-19, State Auditor Kristi Racines said that finding ways to help struggling businesses and those who have been laid off is difficult.

This story is powered by America Amplified, a public radio consortium.

Beer is big business in the Mountain West.

Public Domain

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Teton County is shutting down all non-essential businesses for 14 days. 

Yellowstone National Park/Creative Commons

As international travel bans have been put into effect, Park County is preparing for potential impacts to its summer tourism season. The federal government has barred the entry of all foreign nationals who had visited China, Iran and a group of European countries in the past 14 days.

Makenna Greenwald

Back in 2017, the first USDA-inspected full-service meat processing plant in the state of Wyoming in over 40 years opened up shop in Cody. Now, Laramie is set to open its first-ever meat processing plant as soon as March. 

Tech startups have been migrating into cities all around the Mountain West, from Denver to Salt Lake to Boise.


Kamila Kudelska / Wyoming Public Media

This fall, the Wyoming Business Council hosted community review meetings in Cody. The goal was to target what residents wanted to improve in the community.

Energy Capital Economic Development

Energy Capital Economic Development has announced Curtis Burdette as its new vice president of operations.

FitSmallBusiness.com

Wyoming is a great state for women to start a business due to economic incentives, but not so great when it comes to female-friendly business environments.

Wyoming Business Council

The Wyoming Business Council (WBC) has released its annual benchmark report. This year's report shows that through two of the Wyoming Business Council's grant programs, Kickstart and Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR), start-ups created 30 jobs and received $4.65 million in follow-up investments.

By RickyCourtney - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55918991

There is a possibility Cody will eventually have both Sky West Delta and United Airlines for more than just the summer months. That's because of recent increased plane activity at the Yellowstone Regional Airport.

City of Powell

The Mozambican government is looking to develop business partnerships with the city of Powell and in the Bighorn Basin.

Stuart Wainstock / Flickr

New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado, is best known for Fat Tire, an easy drinking amber ale. It's also famous for being a craft brewery owned by its employees. But that could soon change. The company plans to sell to the global craft beverages business Lion Little World Beverages.

WTBC

The Wyoming Technology and Business Council (WTB) is supporting a new startup challenge focused on science: the Microbial Ecology Collaborative Startup Launchpad. Though, the launchpad isn't just for microbial ecology.

sheridanwyoming.org

A native plant nursery, a traveling physical therapy service and a sports pain relief aid manufacturer are this year's winners of the Sheridan Start-Up Challenge.

University of Wyoming

Ten finalists in the Fisher Innovation Launchpad entrepreneurship competition presented their business ideas on October 24 at the University of Wyoming (UW) Student Union.

The Mountain West will be getting at least two new Amazon warehouses this year, including Idaho’s first in Nampa.

Wyoming Technology Business Center

The Sheridan Start-Up Challenge has announced five finalists.

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