COVID-19's Toll On Tourism In Southern W.Va.


On this West Virginia Morning, we continue our focus on small business issues with a look at long term impacts the coronavirus crisis may have on communities in southern West Virginia that rely on tourism. Also, in today’s show, we hear how churchgoers in West Virginia are staying connected through the pandemic, and we hear a review on a new book titled “The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia” by Emma Copley Eisenberg.

In the past couple of weeks, multiple religious leaders in other parts of the U.S. have been arrested for continuing to hold in-person services despite social distancing edicts. While some churches are making the press, others are trying new ways to maintain connections with parishioners not accustomed to digital devotions. West Virginia University student Kayla Starcher reports.

As some businesses slowly prepare to reopen, several tourist attractions in southern West Virginia are wondering about what COVID-19 might mean for their upcoming summer season. Caitlin Tan and Emily Allen report how some of these businesses are adapting, how they’re struggling, and what it all might mean for their communities.

The new book “The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia” by Emma Copley Eisenberg tells the story of the murders of two women on the way to the Rainbow Family Gathering in 1980. The book has some locals upset so West Virginia Public Broadcasting asked Doug Van Gundy to review it. He’s a writer, professor of English, and the director of West Virginia Wesleyan College’s MFA program, in Buckhannon, West Virginia. He also lived in Pocahontas County when the case of the Rainbow Girls murder went to trial in the 1990s.

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