The Paintsville Tourism Commission met at The Country Music Highway Museum in Paintsville on May 18, practicing social distancing guidelines and livestreaming the meeting on social media, in order to discuss several agenda items, including the impacts the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has had on tourism.

Director Josh Johnson made a motion to surplus several items at The Mountain Homeplace, including an old carriage, horse-trailer and a lawnmower that no longer functions.

“If I could surplus it and I get it out of the way, we could store some more stuff inside out of the weather.” The motion was quickly approved by commissioners.

Johnson also asked for permission to get rid of some animals at The Mountain Homeplace.

“I need a motion to do what I need to do about the animals,” he said. “Depending on how long we stay closed, if it’s more financially feasible, rather than us just feeding them all season long and we’re not going to be open.” Commissioners also approved this motion.

Johnson had no major updates on The Mountain Homeplace. He said farm maintenance has continued and the garden is partially planted. He also noted that all events for June have been cancelled. At this time, July events are “up in the air.”

 “A lot of people have cancelled due to the virus,” Johnson said. “We’ve had to issue those refunds to them. Some people have been able to reschedule for later in the year or next year, so I’m very hopeful that things will be back to semi-normal and we can continue our events.

“I don’t want us to jump the gun and open back up and cause anybody to catch it,” said Johnson, noting that the state has issued guidelines for tourism to open back up by June 1. Sanitization, offering face masks and checking temperatures, he said, would be a challenge.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Commissioner Kay Hall.

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