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Road trip anyone? Texas Hill Country seems to be at the top of people's lists amid the coronavirus pandemic

Fredericksburg is quickly becoming a sought-after refuge for people who have sheltered in place for months due to the coronavirus pandemic, tourism experts say.

FREDERICKSBURG, Texas — Officials and business leaders in Fredericksburg and Gillespie County are encouraging people to follow CDC guidelines when visiting their little slice of small-town Texas.

There is nothing quite like a trip to the Hill Country. Amanda Koone, Communications Director at the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau, said they count on that.

“Here in Fredericksburg, tourism is a huge economic factor bringing in some more than 90 million dollars per year here in the Gillespie county area,” Koone said.

After months of sheltering in place, Fredericksburg has become a sought-after refuge for many in South Texas. Gillespie County COVID-19 Task Force chair Julie Kuhlken said that has a lot to do with how close the area is to other more urban areas.

“At this point we expect most people in Texas to do a ‘drive holiday,’ they’re not going to fly somewhere, most people,” she said.

Kuhlken is also co-owner of Pedernales Cellars Winery. She said she has noticed an increase of people coming to the area at unusual times since the stay-at-home orders started going into effect.

“One of the things we’re seeing is we’re seeing more mid-week traffic. People don’t want to come on busy Saturdays,” Kuhlken said. “They want to come mid-week. We then see actually that, at the winery, like, our Wednesdays have become a fairly good day and it looks like a Sunday typically.”

Kuhlken said that the spacious country setting of towns like Fredericksburg do not decrease the risk of infection by coronavirus in large crowds.

“We’ve tried to implement anything we can to encourage people to follow the latest guidance and to be up to date with the latest medical situation,” Kuhlken said.

Businesses in the area are taking steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, but they need visitors to help keep everyone safe.

Koone said that many updates on COVID-19 safety measures for the area will be posted here, as well as their Facebook page.

“Plan ahead, familiarize yourself with the recommendations in our area,” Koone said.

Kuhlken said even though people are looking to Fredericksburg as an escape, it’s no reason to let their guard down.

“A lot of people having done the shelter in place for two months, I mean, it’s mentally tiring to do that,” Kuhlken said. “And so, they just want a break and I get it. But at the same point, it’s not over, right? The virus hasn’t disappeared, and it can travel anywhere. It’s a long road until we’re free from this."

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