• Staff

‘Welcome back! We missed you!’

Staff Reports

That’s the message springing up all over Branson on billboards and signs greeting Memorial Day Weekend tourists.

Families are starting to flock to Branson. Most are weary with cabin fever and said they’re eager to get out of the house for a holiday, albeit one with Social Distancing and a new reality of safety precautions from the Covid-19 pandemic situation.

“We needed a break, the kids needed a break,” said Quannah Roush, who together with his wife Melissa and three children Raegan, McKenzie and Neeson appeared relaxed and happy visiting the Toy Museum. The Roushes left Tulsa earlier this week and said they were glad Branson was open for business.

Grateful to meet them, Wendy Beck, who co-owns the Toy Museum with husband Tom, expressed hope and a tentative smile that some degree of normalcy was starting to return.

“We’re prayerful,” Beck said. “We think the holiday will make a difference in bringing people out.”

Shows, shops, restaurants, resorts and amusements have begun opening their doors to a new season of tourists. They’re posting new public safety and health protocols, adjusting their business to accommodate folks driving to Branson for entertainment, recreation, and much needed relaxation.

Tourists have been coming in from as far away as Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and all points in between.

Matt Earle, a pastor and former free-weight power lifter, drove 18 hours from Surprise, Ariz., to “catch a break, ” he told the Branson Globe while having lunch at the Branson Diner.

“I’ve got family in the area,” he said. “ I drove in as soon as I learned Branson was open for business.”

Branson Diner owner Susie Roten said she was glad to see Earle and other customers.

“I’m glad we’re starting to get back to normal,” Roten said. “I’d rather people not wear their masks, since they tend to leave them on the table and that requires extra cleanup to be safe afterwards. But that’s okay.”

Steve Hartley, owner of Dick’s Five and Dime, adjusted his business by expanding store aisles to accommodate six-feet apart social distancing. He and his staff offer free masks and disinfectant and underwe

Steve Hartley, owner of Dick’s Five and Dime, which opened May 8, showcases expanded aisles for social distancing and free masks available to customers. (Branson Globe photo)

nt rigorous public health safety training.

“This is new territory for all Branson business owners,” Hartley said. “We’re encouraged to see people coming in and they’re buying. Our number one priority, however, is the health and safety of all our employees and customers.”

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