As for many on the island, life here has changed dramatically over the last few days because of the coronavirus. Until last week, I had never heard of the term “social distancing.” Now, I can’t not hear it.

As the organization tasked with promoting tourism and visitation to the island, the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau realizes that a healthy small business and local restaurant community is vital to that mission. And so is providing information about resources to those entities. The CVB is actively working to provide timely information about the coronavirus and updates about local business, restaurants and attractions to the Galveston community and those who may wish to visit.

Every week, the CVB staff sends COVID-19 updates to its partners. The updates include information from the health experts at places such as the Galveston County Health District, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. We’re also working with city of Galveston officials to disseminate information about ordinances and other measures in effect to protect the public and prevent the further spread of the virus.

Despite the doom-and-gloom scenarios wrought by the virus, local businesses and attractions have shown to be resilient so far. To keep Galveston island’s attractions top of mind, many are offering virtual experiences. Moody Gardens, Galveston Arts Center and the Galveston Historical Foundation are among them. The GHF offers live lectures, virtual tours of its properties, an online book club and a history homeschool curriculum. The CVB also has developed a homeschool curriculum, which will come in handy for those working from home and also keeping their children learning while they’re home too.

The CVB social media team will highlight local businesses and shops to let followers know who is open, what services are available and whether or not they can shop — for merchandise or gift cards — online.

Another important component of the CVB’s work is devising a strategy for moving forward when the mandates to social distance are lifted. No doubt, people will want to get away from being cooped up in their homes. And we want Galveston to be on top of their minds when they’re ready. This is a worldwide pandemic, not just a regional event, so competition for visitors will be tough once we’re all free to move about again.

That’s why the CVB is working hard to champion the local places that makes Galveston so special.

Park board meetings are typically held at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 601 23rd St.

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.

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