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Local businesses cashing in on people visiting Quincy to get vaccine

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QUINCY (WGEM) -- If things have seemed busier around town in Quincy, it could be out of town visitors.

Tourism officials said thousands are visiting to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and while they're in town, they might be spending some cash as well.

Before the pandemic tourism officials said visitors to Quincy would spend on average $250 a night staying in a hotels, eating at local restaurants, and shopping or filling up their tank.

Local businesses said they're seeing a lot of that happen with these visitors from all over the state.

"I got lucky this morning when around nine o'clock, all the slots are full. I tried again around 11 and there was one slot open for [Thursday], and I'm like I'm jumping on that," said Craig Bates

He said that's when he made plans to drive on down to Quincy from Joliet, Illinois, to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Oakley-Lindsay Center Thursday.

Bates said he's staying at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Wednesday night where general manager Deb Carstens said they're seeing around 5-6 people like Bates a night.

"So we have a lot of people traveling into town. Coming down specifically to get that Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which is really impacting our occupancy, it's helping it out a lot," said Carstens.

Across the parking lot at Dunnbelly Bar and Bistro, owner Brad Dunn said lots of his recent patrons talk about how they're in town for the vaccine.

"Before and after [they get the vaccine] a lot of people come in, I try to stop by and chat with tables and, you know, you get to talking and they're here in town, from all over. On their way or coming from getting the vaccine so I think people are excited to have that availability," said Dunn.

He said it's good to get back to work and have people getting the vaccine as well.

"Any reason that brings people to Quincy is great and if you're going to come here and get a vaccine. Even better," said Dunn.

Bates said he plans to dine at local places like Dunbelly's before heading back home when all's said and done.

"I think it's important for American citizens health, my health, for me not to spread it, if I do get it, and I think that's important that we all chip in and get the vaccine," said Bates.

Tourism officials said around 9,500 people like Bates have made their way to Quincy from outside of the surrounding counties since they started mass vaccination.

Bates said it's easier to get an appointment in Quincy than anywhere closer to home.

Holly Cain, See Quincy Executive Director, said they've also put pamphlets and information regarding local places to eat and stay at the vaccination site so visitors can take them home.

"[That could hopefully] bring people back to Quincy, for a return visit when they can maybe stay longer or bring additional people when we think the word of mouth is traveling well for people that have come here, had a great experience and are telling others," said Cain.

Vaccinations at the Oakley-Lindsay center are open to anyone 16 and older from anywhere in Illinois.


Illinois authorizes vaccine for 16+ in some communities to combat possible resurgence

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