Tourism industry and surrounding businesses hit hard in Cañon City during pandemic


CAÑON CITY, Colo. — Capacity limitations and current restrictions have taken a toll on tourists destinations and local businesses in Cañon City.

For more than 30 years, the Museum of Colorado Prisons has drawn people from all across the country to Cañon City.

“It brings about 19,000 people a year we were close to 20,000 pre COVID-19,” said Museum Administrator Stacey Cline.

The museum was forced to close down in March and reopened towards the end of May. Cline said summer admission revenue is key in helping support the popular museum.

“That’s where we get all out money to make it through the winter,” said Cline. “It’s a cycle we go through every year.”

Despite taking out loans and grants, the museum has had to cut back on renovation projects and now with level orange restrictions on the way, capacity at the museum will be will be pulled back again.

“It’s been lonely and tough, I don’t think anyone could have prepared for a pandemic,” said Cline.

Down the street, surrounding businesses like Pizza Madness said tourism is key to their survival. Owner Beth Katchmar said the restaurant is bursting with tourists in the summer, but capacity limitations have put a stop on crowds that used to once roam Cañon City.

“We lost all the big groups that we normally had failed to come and all the events and we didn’t have any event this year,” said Katchmar.

Pizza madness says they haven’t had to lay off any of their employees but sales dropped drastically. Meanwhile several other places on Main Street closed their doors due to COVID-19, according to Katchmar.

“K-Bob’s Steakhouse and Chuck’s Seasoned Grill there’s a number of them that are closed down and will never open up again,” said Katchmar.

With further restrictionf on the horizon this small town is hoping they’ll recover from the pandemic.

“If we don’t make the money December, January and February are never busy, it’s going to be really sad,” said Katchmar.

The Museum of Colorado Prisons is looking for ways to bring back more revenue. If you would like to donate check out their website.

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