LEXINGTON, Ky. —  With the mask mandate coming to an end in a matter of weeks, downtown Lexington is starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel, especially inside the Explorium of Lexington.

What You Need To Know

  • COVID-19 restrictions and the statewide mask mandate lift on June 11

  • Downtown Lexington businesses are hoping to see an increase in visitors over the next month

  • Explorium of Lexington is one business in downtown that was impacted by the pandemic

  • The restriction lift could help bring revenue back into Downtown Lexington

“We were closed for several months last summer. We opened up in the middle of last July and still have been operating on what we're calling COVID hours,” Executive Director Lee Ellen Martin said.

This last year has been difficult with the COVID-19 pandemic in full effect, Martin said, causing them to miss out on some of their biggest months. 

"We missed most of that because we were only open a little bit during spring break. And, then again in the school year, we have lots and lots of group visits with the kids, and those group visits come from all over – Kentucky, and even sometimes West Virginia,” Martin said. 

Martin said although the mandates are easing up and people are starting to get vaccinated, they are still having a difficult time getting families in their museum. 

“We are starting to see an upward trend in our business. I will say though the door foot traffic it seems to be the slowest to be coming back I think people still aren't quite sure you know about coming especially with us because it's a lot of younger kids who can't get vaccinated yet,” Martin said.

Mary Quinn Ramer, the President for Visit Lex, said Martin's is one of many businesses downtown that has been having a difficult time staying open during the pandemic.

“I don't think there's any surprise that the pandemic is having a devastating impact on the hospitality industry. In Lexington alone, during a 12 month period we saw $120 million lost in hotel revenue,” Ramer said.

Along with many businesses across the state, Ramer looks forward to next month, one that hopefully brings back some normalcy into downtown Lexington. 

“I'm grateful that we are now looking at a June 11 lift of all restrictions that are going to be fantastic for us in this industry and very excited that people are ready to get back,” Ramer said.

Until then, Martin said the Explorium will continue to invite Kentuckians to check out the museum and spend time with family in a safe environment. 

“I just saw a little toddler with our zoom tubes where a scarf goes through some tubes. It's fun and wild, just looking at it in amazement, and giggling and laughing. So it's just great to see kids and families and parents but being able to do things together again,” Martin said.