The usual crowds and car line-ups at the Grand Canyon South Rim entrance at nearby Tusayan are nowhere to be seen. Just some traffic cones and a sign that proclaims the park as being closed. It’s a sad sight for it foretells the stoppage of business in the town of Tusayan and thereby the livelihoods of it’s inhabitants. But all is not totally bleak. During this completely unprecedented downturn in business, locals have come together to help each other. “So many people and businesses have stepped up to help families in need,” said Grand Canyon Chamber President Laura Chastain. “A lot of great things have been done and we’re all trying to do more.”
A community task force has been established by the National Park Service. Calls are happening daily to discuss Covid-19 issues and how the community can work together to minimize health risks and damage to the economy. Of top priority is making sure locals have essentials such as food, shelter, laundry services and making sure education tools are available.
The Food bank has increased in importance. Located at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and IMAX Theater, the food bank is busy distributing food weekly on Wednesdays. The Town of Tusayan has also been paying for lunches for the school children on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. “Recognizing the immense pressure that parents face in this uncertain time, the Tusayan Town Council wants everyone to know we are here for you,” said Tusayan Vice-Mayor Brady Harris.
The coming together of local businesses and municipal organizations will continue until the new “normal” is reached. It’s still unknown when the Grand Canyon National Park, the life force of the community, will reopen but if the last 6 weeks have proven anything, its that the locals will continue to stick together and look after each other as best they can.