TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- The Tupelo Convention and Visitation Bureau is not just reopening, they are reopening with a bang. The city of Tupelo is hosting several events this weekend including an 87 team little league tournament at Ballard Park. The CVB is also hosting a 3v3 soccer tournament and a swim camp at the Aquatic Center.
Ever since Governor Tate Reeves opened the door for activities to return, the CVB has been focused on creating a safe environment for players and fans but is also excited to provide a spark to the local economy.
"When you talk about just bringing in 87 baseball teams alone," Executive Director of the CVB, Neal McCoy said. "Some of them will be staying overnight in our hotels, people will be eating in restaurants, buying gas at the gas station. So we need that, we need that return to normalcy."
The CVB just received their numbers for March; they're down 25 percent from March of 2019 and he anticipates an even bigger decrease for April and May, when the shutdowns were in full effect. He said he hopes that in the next two months, the CVB can book as many events as possible to make up for the losses and help out local businesses in the process.
But with so many people flocking to Tupelo, and to Ballard Park in particular, the primary concern is keeping people safe during the pandemic. McCoy works closely with Tupelo Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Alex Farned to ensure there are policies in place to avoid the spread of the virus.
"We're doing a lot of social distancing, a lot of signage telling people where to stand," Farned said. "Whether they're coming through the gate or whether they're coming to our concession stand. We're even putting extensions on the dugouts, so the players inside the dugout can social distance if they want to."
Farned also echoed McCoy's sentiment that while they are being cautious, they're excited to see players, families, and fans come back to Tupelo.
"We are so happy, us and the Convention and Business Bureau literally work hand in hand on this," Farned said. "It's so nice to be able to have a safe event but to also to start bringing people back to Tupelo."
Farned also said that he will have staff on hand to remind people of the social distancing markers. However, he did emphasize that while the signs are up, it is up to the individuals to adhere to the polices.