COVID-19, park closure hits Three Rivers hard

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Spring is usually a busy season for Three Rivers.

People from around the world stop and stay in the Tulare County town as they visit Sequoia National Park.

But last week, the park closed until further notice because of the coronavirus pandemic.

So people are canceling their plans, and that's taking a toll on local businesses-like Sierra Lodge.

"(They) keep calling every day," Sierra Lodge Manager Mohammed Hossain said. "Every day. We're getting calls from Booking(.com), Expedia, and from the guests also."

Hossain says all his employees' hours have been cut.

He tries to help by giving them shifts, but that's only when there's work to be done.

Three Rivers Brewing Company can't host people in their taproom or on their patio anymore.

That new, harsh reality has hurt their business and community spirit.

But they're still allowed to make beer, including a current favorite-the Lemon Meringue Pie IPA, put it in a growler, and sell it to-go.

Nancy, a resident of Three Rivers, feels for the businesses that are struggling to stay afloat. She's out of work herself.

But she hopes non-residents will think twice about coming in search of outdoor activities, so as not to overwhelm the small town.

"My concern is that our resources are going out to people who don't live here who may live in areas where they have more resources," she said.

As a place that thrives on tourism, Three Rivers is not its usual self. But it will bounce back, even if it takes time.

"Whatever the situation, we have to work together," Hossain said. "That's all we know."

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