Sen. Roy Blunt several times repeated a phrase area residents should be pleased to hear: “Branson is open for business.”
He said he saw several parking lots full of visitors during his tour of the city Saturday.
“This economy is resilient,” he said. “That is a good thing to know.”
Although there is extensive damage, residents can take some comfort in knowing the local economy will bounce back quickly, Blunt said.
And letting potential visitors know businesses are up and running is a key to the city’s recovery.
“It’s important to get that message out,” he said. “Anybody that wants to come to Branson is going to have plenty to do.”
While road work played a role in the slowdown of traffic on 76 Country Boulevard, the volume of cars was a source of optimism for Blunt.
And many visitors who are doing research before they come down are finding there are still many options for entertainment.
“We called around to make sure some places were open,” said Debbie Mitchell, while visiting Tanger Outlet Center. “We heard it looked pretty bad in some places, but most places we wanted to go are still open.”
She said the traffic was a little slow, but it wasn’t much different than a typical busy weekend.
Christine Avery, a frequent visitor to Branson, said she wanted to see what kind of damage the tornado had done.
“I come here all the time, so I wanted to know how everything was,” she said. “There’s a lot of damage, but I think it’ll get turned around pretty quick.”
Blunt said there are already several signs the turnaround has begun.
“There are lots of people out working, lots of new power poles,” he said. “It looks like a lot of parking lots are full.”
According to Blunt, the level of damage to determine federal relief funds is about $8 million uninsured.