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Despite closure of Yellowstone, business owners of West Yellowstone remain optimistic

WEST YELLOWSTONE, Montana (KIFI) - Monday brought a boom to many of the different businesses in the area, though the closure of Yellowstone National Park has continued to bring down some of the heavy business that many will see during the summer season.

Daniel Flores, the owner of the Outpost restaurant, says not only was Monday confusing for many leaving the park but chaotic for his restaurant.

"All Monday was, you know, scary. But we had a big rush in. But that's only because everybody was escaping to the park, you know? But after that, it just died down."

He says for him, this is similar to how the initial reactions to the COVID-19 lockdown went.

"It did it with the COVID. It was scary. You know, we couldn't have opened salad bar. Certain things we do. It was definitely scary to that at that point. But we made it through survived. And here we go again. This is a little different, but still, we got to think the same way. Let's just keep going and see where it takes us."

Flores says the main thing right now is a fear of the unknown as it's currently unknown as to when parts of the park will reopen. But he says he remains optimistic.

"You have to. You have to because there is there's no thought of shutting down. There's no thought of all right. Let's just close the doors and see what happens. No, we just got to keep pushing, keep giving as much as we can. Yeah. So I just hope and for the best. Got to stay positive, you have too."

Flores also adds many of the people who visit his restaurant are thankful he has been able to stay open in this confusing time.

"During this time, they're all grateful. At least this part stays open. A lot of places here stay open in town. Weather has been permitting. You know, it's hard to say. And but you know, from everybody when I've heard and everything that they love the town, it's a great town. And there's lots to do still here, too."

Flores says while the season has seen a downward turn, he hopes it doesn't last long, something the owner of the One Horse Motel Mike Lundberg agrees with.

"If it continues, if the park was to continue to stay down I think we would have a large problem on our hands," Lundberg said. "But I kind of feel that they're going to do their best to turn things around. And hopefully that'll that'll get us back to normal."

Lundberg says Monday also brought some change in plans for many because of information coming from the park.

"We've been getting a lot of cancelations folks are a little scared about coming because of the information that was put out. But I think that the it's starting to come together again. They're they're putting out more information, and people are starting to realize that maybe it's not as big a problem as it was."

He says while his business is affected by the seasonal downturn, many visiting his motel have discovered the joys of deeper exploration in the area of West Yellowstone.

"I am a seasonal business. I will say there are things to do outside of the park. You know all those Johnny Sacks, Kevin. There's Virginia City and Nevada City outside of Ennis you can visit. So there are things you can do outside the park while this current problem is being solved. Being seasonal, it can be a little tough. But, you know, I'll do whatever I got to do," Lundberg said.

Lundberg echoes Flores as both hope for the best and hope to see more people come to the area soon.

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.

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