Total Solar Eclipse - April 8, 2024
Things to consider to ensure the day is successful
The 2024 Total Solar Eclipse will last approximately four minutes along most of the path--almost two minutes longer than the 2017 event.
In 2017, 12 million people lived within the path of totality, while millions more traveled into the path for the event. This time, 32 million people live within the path, which will run from southwest to northeast and encompasses Dallas, Little Rock, Indianapolis, Cleveland and Buffalo. Other cities such as San Antonio, Austin, Cincinnati, and Montreal, Canada, are just at the edge of the 120-mile wide totality path. With many millions more living within a few hours drive, next April's event may be one of the most watched celestial events in history.
You can understand the need to prepare for the event. What we cannot wrap our heads around is going to be the massive numbers of people coming into our community/area. Population is expected to double* and the demands on our City need to be evaluated for the best outcome.
*Jeff Klein, Emergency Management Agency, expects an even larger impact than doubling our population. They are estimating 260,000 people to come to Wood County, with BGSU being one of the most recognizable locations, making people comfortable with this being where they will head out to experience this once in a lifetime event.
Impact on Businesses
Directives from the Ohio Travel Association and Ohio EMC are that communities should not try to plan events to draw visitors, they will come. Instead, focus your energy on keeping visitors in town for an additional night's stay to alleviate the mass exodus and drive more revenue.
Consider Transportation. How will your staff get to and from work? Will traffic patterns and congestion hinder your customers' or clients' ability to get to your location?
Make sure your router is up-to-date. With the increased population in the city limits, WiFi will be strained. Will you provide guest or visitor access to WiFi?
Hotels will be full
How do we keep people overnight on Monday?
- This will prevent a mass exodus
Not at Fairgrounds
Not at National Tractor Pulling Championships
Other campgrounds have reported that they will not be open for the season
It was mentioned that schools and churches are able to use their parking lots to park self-contained campers overnight. A suggestion was made that this could be a fundraiser for them
Alert suppliers to see what accommodations can be made
Restaurants and Grocery Stores
- Inventory - what are the essential items?
- How will staffing be handled?
- Refrigerated truck for extra storing of perishable items
- Could use a semi truck trailer with bagged ice
- Check with Distribution Center to see how to arrange an additional or emergency delivery
- See "Delivery Logistics" tab for more in-depth information
- Be prepared on how to record transactions if your POS system goes down
- Make a plan to control parking in your parking lot
- Alert regular customers to shop early to avoid long lines and shortages
- Make preparations for additional food storage close to where you will set up
- i.e. Freezers and refrigeration
- Have extra propane tanks on hand
- Similar items to what is described under restaurants and grocery stores
- Would it be beneficial to stay in one place or move around?
Retail and Grocery
- See if you need any special concessions for permits
- i.e. Brick and mortar stores being able to extend into tented areas
Water is vital!
Will your business be open?
All businesses will be affected in some capacity, whether that is directly or indirectly. The committee looked at providing some items to consider in making the ultimate decision on whether or not to open that day. Consider making a plan as if you were planning for a Level 3 Snow Emergency
- Will your employees be able to get to work or home through the traffic?
- Will the parking at your building be consumed by those coming into town to see the eclipse?
- Will customers or clients venture out that day to conduct business?
Businesses that we have heard will be closing:
Businesses changing their focus for the day:
- The Wood County District Public Library will focus on hospitality to visitors to BG over the days before and after the eclipse, with a comfortable, clean environment for visitors with wi-fi, high-speed internet, and library services. They will pause programs, events, and story-times to help decrease crowd-size downtown, with parking focused on visitors to downtown shops and restaurants. The bookmobile will be off-the-road in the days before and after the event for routine maintenance. The library will be closed the day of the eclipse so that staff can be with family and friends during this very unique event
What will visitors need?
The Chamber is organizing an additional broadcast of The Morning Show, 1 - 4 p.m., to provide information, interviews, traffic updates, and additional guest service messages.
Does your business have adequate restrooms for the increased population? If not, what alternatives, such as port-a-johns, are available?
Will you open your restrooms to the public, or only customers and/or clients?
How often will restrooms need to be cleaned to meet the added demands?
Due to increased traffic to one area, it would be beneficial to utilize WiFi for all communications
- Cellular data and calls can be bogged down and unavailable
- Utilizing a cross-platform messaging system (works with Android and Apple products) over WiFi may increase capabilities of communication between families and businesses
- Ex: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, GroupMe, Zello
- Texting, especially over a WiFi connection may be the best way to get in touch with others
- Option for cell service, but cell towers may struggle to handle the extra people
- Public WiFi access
- Current WiFi capacity, and can we increase it?
- Community-wide free WiFi?
- Charging stations will be vital
Protective Eyewear is readily available but order now. Dr. Nick Peiffer of BG Vision Clinic recommended the American Astronomical Society (AAS) website as a resource for eye safety and identifying approved solar eyewear.
- See AAS's Suppliers of Safe Solar Filters & Viewers page for sources of solar viewers verified to be compliant with the transmittance requirements of the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.
It may be challenging for trucks to navigate traffic, causing delays in shipping. We will need to follow up with vendors delivering in the area in the months before the event to they are aware of the expected traffic congestion.
Not all vendors will be able to accommodate a significantly larger order or special additional deliveries. Those expecting increases like the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Soccer Challenge, and National Tractor Pulling Championships should advise their vendors in January or February of what their expectations are.
If lack of storage for extra supplies/goods is an issue, tracking down additional storage for the event could be an option.
Fuel trucks have limited capacities in both volume and availability. Additionally, companies selling fuel have an allocated amount that they can draw. If we feel that the fuel needs will be significantly high in the area, we will need to be sure additional capacities are acquired and prepared for.
As the eclipse draws closer, more businesses and organizations are planning viewing sites for the public to watch the eclipse. Below is the most current list we have of eclipse viewing sites (as of 9/1/23):
- The Wood County Parks District is planning for a few different viewing sites in their parks. For more information, visit wcparks.org, or call at (419) 353-1897
Ohio EMA Flyer: https://ema.ohio.gov/static/eclipse/2024%20Eclipse%20Flyer.pdf
Ohio EMA Social Media Graphic: https://ema.ohio.gov/static/eclipse/Social%20Media%20Graphic%20Updated%20Language.jpg
Ohio Eclipse Logo: https://ema.ohio.gov/static/eclipse/Eclipse%20logo%20final.pdf