Flagstaff’s summer months usually provide a respite for Phoenix locals, but this year, Arizonans are struggling to beat more than just the heat. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has seen a significant spike in positive cases — tens of thousands since July 1, according to the Arizona Department of Health.
The bulk of these cases stem from the larger Phoenix area, where there are over 91,000 confirmed cases, as of Friday. Maricopa County currently accounts for 65% of the state’s 138,000-plus cases of COVID-19, while Coconino County’s case count is just over 2,600.
Lori Pappas, marketing and media relations manager for Discover Flagstaff said the “drive market” is Flagstaff’s No. 1 travel market, meaning people from metro Phoenix, southern Arizona and closely neighboring states are most likely to visit Flagstaff. According to a 2017–18 tourism survey conducted by the City of Flagstaff, it was found that 70% of tourists come from Maricopa County, “especially Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert and Mesa.”
Historically, Flagstaff is popular among those in the central and southern portions of the state. Although this tourism cannot be avoided, it can be mitigated. Pappas said tourists and visitors are encouraged to comply with the city’s health guidelines and respect the safety of locals by wearing masks and social distancing.
“Destination stewardship continues to be a priority for Discover Flagstaff, and we are consistently communicating that if people are coming up, they should be prepared and follow Flagstaff’s safety protocols, which are guided by the CDC and local government,” Pappas said. “Discover Flagstaff continues to leverage multiple platforms to strengthen communication and strengthen guidelines on how people should safely conduct business.”