From face masks and social distancing to capacity limits at restaurants, things certainly have been different on Mackinac Island in the middle of a global pandemic. Even some annual events have been cancelled.
But so much of the visitor experience has remained the same thanks to the commitment of Mackinac Island Tourism members to take health and safety precautions seriously. While several hundred thousand people visited Mackinac Island in 2020, COVID-19 cases were relatively few and far between.
With the prospect of a coronavirus vaccine, there’s hope that Mackinac Island will return to normal soon. But even if the pandemic continues to pose a risk, you can rest assured that Mackinac Island is doing everything it can to create an environment that’s as safe as possible when you visit.
After all, Mackinac Island has the track record to prove it. Through the heart of the 2020 summer travel season from June through the middle of September, Mackinac Island went largely unscathed by the novel coronavirus.
It took a coordinated effort in partnership with local and state health authorities. Not only has the city of Mackinac Island created a thorough COVID-19 plan, but Mackinac Island Tourism member businesses are following safety protocols and procedures based on established guidelines for safe operation.
Listen to the Voices of Mackinac Island Podcast for details on keeping visitors safe during the pandemic.
Here are some of the steps being taken to help preserve the safety of Mackinac Island’s cherished visitors, workers and residents:
- Mackinac Island visitors are being encouraged to maintain safe social distancing with at least six feet of space between them and other visitors outside their family
- Mackinac Island visitors are being required to wear a cloth mask or face covering when indoors and not able to maintain safe social distancing
- Ferry companies serving Mackinac Island have updated their embarking and disembarking processes to limit crowding, and both Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry and Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry have thoroughly cleaned and sanitized boats after every trip and again at the end of each day
- Places to stay on Mackinac Island have adopted even more comprehensive cleaning procedures in private rooms and public areas, enacted capacity limits and removed certain high-touch items such as printed guest directories
- Mackinac Island visitors are being encouraged to wash hands frequently and refrain from touching their face and eyes
- Hand sanitizing stations are available in high traffic areas throughout Mackinac Island
While several events that typically involve large gatherings of people were cancelled in 2020, including the annual Lilac Festival Grand Parade and the Great Turtle Half Marathon, visitors embraced the natural social distancing available through Mackinac Island’s bounty of outdoor recreational opportunities. That includes running or biking on the streets through town or around the outer rim of Mackinac Island, hiking through the natural wonders of Mackinac Island State Park, riding horseback on some of the 70-plus miles of trails crisscrossing Mackinac Island, hammocking on the cliffs high above Lake Huron, paddling in the water around Mackinac Island and more.
It’s not clear yet when large public events will return to Mackinac Island. But you will always be able to enjoy the peaceful open spaces of Mackinac Island, just as many people already have done during the pandemic. As you plan a visit, be sure to explore everything there is to do on Mackinac Island outside of town. And know that each place to stay, restaurant, shop and attraction is doing its part to help everybody stay as safe as possible.