St. Joseph Mayor, Tourism Council on Pandemic Fallout in Southwest Michigan


Nestled on the coast of Lake Michigan, St. Joseph, Michigan, is one of many small communities in the southwestern part of the state that relies heavily on summer tourism to support its many small businesses. 

Interactive: More from our series, COVID-19 Across Chicago.

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But with the COVID-19 pandemic shuttering much of Michigan’s economy and stalling regional travel, what will this summer look like for the area? 

“All of our merchants, the city itself, we’ve been working with Berrien County Health Department to provide a safe, friendly environment for all of our guests and our residents,” said St. Joseph Mayor Michael Garey. “We’re open for business this summer.”

Berrian County, which includes St. Joseph, has recorded 796 coronavirus cases, with 49 deaths. 

And as in communities across the country, the pandemic has been “devastating” to the local economy, says Millicent Huminsky, executive director of the Southwest Michigan Tourist Council. But she says she’s cautiously optimistic tourists will visit the region this summer. 

“I think with safe distancing, the practices being put into place — as long as people adhere to those things, we’re all going to be in good shape,” Huminsky said. “Will we do what we did in past years? Maybe, maybe not. But I still think we’ll be a choice for folks to drive to.”


Covid Across Chicago

How is the novel coronavirus impacting local businesses, residents and social service agencies across the city and region? And how are local leaders handling the crisis? We hit the streets to answer those questions and more in our ongoing reporting series, COVID-19 Across Chicago. See where we’ve been and what we’ve discovered in this overview. Listed is the official Chicago community area with the neighborhood in parenthesis where appropriate.


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