ST. CLOUD -- With large gatherings not allowed right now, there are a lot of meetings, conventions and sporting events there are being canceled in the St. Cloud area.

Julie Lunning is the Executive Director of the St. Cloud Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. She says her staff is very busy talking to panicked event planners. She says they've had at least 225 pieces of displaced events already. She says the goal is to get all of the events rescheduled for later this year here in town.

Trying to get everything that we can rebooked back here in St. Cloud, but we know that's just really not a reality.  So, we are working closely with our partners in other cities throughout Minnesota.  We don't want to see events lost, so if we can't get them we want somebody else to.

Lunning says some events are just choosing to cancel altogether for this year.

She says with local places like the River's Edge Convention Center and the Municipal Athletic Complex closed, that translates to a lot of lost revenue for the area.

The area sees over 980,000 visitors a year, and the visitors that come to central Minnesota spend over $478 million a year.  Our hospitality and tourism industry employs just over 11,000 people and everyone is impacted right now.

She says no matter how long the COVID-19 pandemic lasts it will take a while for the tourism industry to ramp back up again.

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