MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (KXRM) — Businesses in Manitou Springs are making a comeback post-pandemic. On Wednesday, the city’s mask mandate was lifted and shop owners and restaurants say it’s helping take the pressure off of them.
“We are finally seeing what we would expect for that visitor traffic, which has been a nice surprise,” said Mackenzie Helms, Marketing Coordinator with the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce.
A much needed surprise to the mountain town that strongly depends on their summer visitors to keep their doors open all year around.
“The more people that come into town, the higher the numbers are and the more tourism,” said Scott Wood, Manager at Manitou Brewing Company. “It’s a big piece of our sales.”
Helms said during 2020 lodging was down by 50% in Manitou and traffic at the Visitor’s Center decreased by nearly 70%. However, Helms added that most of the town’s small businesses survived the pandemic and new businesses are on their way.
“All the properties that have been vacant have basically all been filled at this point so traffic is coming back into town even from business owner,” said Helms.
Just this week, Manitou Springs joined other nearby cities by dropping their mask mandate, the chamber said they did so after talking to businesses and considering their feedback.
“It’s nice to not have to enforce it to a degree that feels a little uncomfortable sometimes, but luckily we were fortunate to have not too many people frustrated with it,” Wood added.
At Manitou Brewing Co. sales are back up and employees said the reopening of the Cog Railway is helping them bounce back.
“We are getting waves of people coming to town enjoying the mountains, enjoying Pikes Peak and our beer, it’s a huge added plus to have the mask mandate lifted and the cog open back up,” said Wood.
City leaders including Mayor John Graham are also optimistic about this year’s tourism season compared to last year.
“We are pleased to be starting 2021 off on a good foot. With the cog reopening, business booming, and COVID-19 slowing, we look forward to the great things this year will hold for our local shops and community alike.“John Graham, Mayor of Manitou Springs