Businesses: We need your support more than ever

With the onset of COVID-19 and the cancellation of major events across the state, local business owners have noted they need the support of the community to survive.

Shawn Parker, executive director of Sheridan Travel and Tourism, said the community has already seen steep declines in occupancy rates at local hotels and therefore in lodging tax revenue. He said March rates declined by approximately 40%, while April saw more than a 65% decline.

The cancellation of major events like the Snickers Soccer Cup, Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic Trail Run and the Sheridan WYO Rodeo, will continue to affect those numbers as well as sales and use tax revenues.

“It’s a sizeable impact, for sure,” Parker said of the announcement this week that Sheridan WYO Rodeo would not happen in 2020. “But we also know there is this massive pent up demand that’s built up throughout the pandemic and Wyoming is emerging as a premiere drive destination.

“I think we’ll be able to offset some of the losses — spread out over the whole summer,” he said, though he acknowledged that even an increase over day-to-day summer traffic may not make up for the huge boost rodeo week typically provides.

Mark Demple, who runs P.O. News and Flagstaff Café in downtown Sheridan, told The Sheridan Press that rodeo week — as well as the week before and after the major event — brings increased business to the café.

“The rodeo is a huge ‘shot in the arm’ for our community and the impact from not having it will be felt by many businesses up and down our Main Street as well as throughout our community,” Demple said via email.

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