Discover Lehigh Valley is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as the situation continues to evolve and is staying in close contact with our partners and industry leaders including the State of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Travel Association, Destinations International, the CDC, and both Lehigh and Northampton Counties.
On March 13, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency. It is critical that individuals do their part to help slow the spread of the coronavirus by practicing social distancing. The White House and CDC and have recommended to avoid social gatherings in groups of 10+ people at this time.
If you are feeling the negative effect of the virus on any business level, please contact Alex Michaels so we can help as best as possible. We also ask that members of the local tourism & hospitality community complete this survey to help us stay informed of your current situation.
If you are hosting a major event that has been cancelled and/or your business is altering normal offerings or operations, please contact Kaitie Burger. We are compiling a list of changes to tourism-related happenings that will be updated as more information is available and will be used as a resource across our media channels.
The DLV team will remain vigilant and will continue to update this page with talking points and resources for partners below.
Update: On Wednesday, March 25, Governor Tom Wolf extended the "Stay at Home" order to include both Lehigh and Northampton counties. Restaurants may continue take-out offerings, but customers must order and pay for their food remotely (whether online or by phone). Essential businesses such as grocery stores, medical facilities, etc. will remain open. Full statement and details are available here.
Note when traveling through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: The PA Turnpike will temporarily activate All-Electronic Tolling (AET) statewide on March 16, at 8 p.m. This is a temporary safety measure to protect employee and public health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following this change, do not stop at tollbooths, travel at posted speed limits through toll plazas. Cash and credit cards will not be accepted anywhere on the mainline ticket system. You will be billed via E-ZPass or by mail through PA Turnpike Toll By Plate. Please also note that the Allentown Service Plaza on the Pennsylvania Turnpike does not have fuel due to previously scheduled maintenance; other service plazas may have limited service.
Discover Lehigh Valley Strategy
- Discover Lehigh Valley (DLV) will remain up to date on and share the latest news and resources to help prevent the spread of misinformation.
- At this time, DLV has put a pause on advertising and sponsored marketing campaigns. We will continue to showcase small businesses throughout the region including restaurants, locally-owned shops, etc. on our social media channels as well as outdoor scenes, at-home activities, and positive news stories. Our message will focus on the strength of the Lehigh Valley community, with a positive hope for the future.
Talking Points via U.S. Travel Association
- This is an incredibly challenging time, and we hope everyone around the world is practicing the guidance. of public health authorities and taking. all the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their communities safe. The health and well-being of the public is first and foremost. The challenge in moments of public health concern is to react properly to the situation, but to not overreact.
- Travel supports 15.8 million jobs that are immediately threatened.
- Our industry is urging Congress to include vital provisions in the next relief package to assist travel businesses and their workers:
- Access to small business loans to retain employees and cover basic costs during the shutdown.
- A Workforce Stabilization Fund to help larger travel businesses retain their workers and remain solvent.
- Tax relief to help mitigate economic losses.
- Changes to the “small business” definition to include more travel business.
- The impact on the travel industry and the whole U.S. economy is going to be very significant, and there must be policy steps to address that. 15.8 million Americans—1 out of every 10 U.S. workers—depend on the travel industry for their jobs.
- This is a very difficult time, and we hope everyone around the world is listening to the guidance of public health authorities and taking all the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their communities safe.
Air Service Impact
For the latest information on air travel, visit the Federal Aviation Administration's coronavirus update page.
- State of Pennsylvania
- Destinations International Travel Resources
- Destinations International Crisis Communications Handbook
- U.S. Travel Association Toolkit
- CDC COVID-19 Summary
- CDC Information for Travelers
- PA Gov. Wolf Administration Preparedness Action
- PCMA: What Business Events Professionals Need to Know About the COVID-19 Coronavirus
- Meetings Mean Business: Coronavirus Resources
- American Hotel & Lodging Association Resource Page
- National Restaurant Association Resource Page
- Loans for Small Businesses in Pennsylvania
- Business Resources via Facebook
This page was last updated on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 3 p.m. ET.