With the news of a second worker at Texas Health Presbyterian testing positive for Ebola, chatter about the disease is increasing with some travelers questioning if they should shy away from Dallas.
Dallas in two weeks. Cancel trip or nah!?
— Christian (@manc_in_ohio) October 15, 2014
to change the subject should I cancel my Dallas trip to see Habs because of ebola #mtlhockey
— George McIngvale (@gmacdos) October 9, 2014
Tourists are asking if going to the Dallas area puts them at risk, said Alice Riggins, owner of Dallas-based All In One Tour services.
“We’ve definitely had discussions with people coming in, and my answer to them is that we’re not going anywhere near the hospital,” said Riggins.
She hasn't had any trip cancellations and stresses to her clients that the Ebola cases are isolated incidents. But while she takes visitors on tours of the city’s major tourist attractions—she's staying far from Texas Health Presbyterian and Duncan’s apartment where he stayed after arriving in the U.S.
“We’re not seeking to take people to an Ebola clinic, and if they’re were wise, they’d say, no thank you.”
Others going to Dallas are taking similar precautions. The New York Post reports that The New York Giants are getting briefed on the Ebola virus ahead of their trip to Texas to play the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, which will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Pat Hanlon, the Giants’ senior vice president of communications, told The Post Wednesday that is was just procedure. “On the Ebola issue, no, nothing out of the ordinary other than providing background and info on the disease.’’
Health officials in Dallas stressed that there was still little threat to citizens after Amber Vinson –a second hospital worker at Texas Presbyterian who had helped treat Thomas Eric Duncan --contracted Ebola from him before he died last Wednesday. Nina Pham another nurse who treated Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola earlier this week and is being treated in Dallas.
Despite growing concern, the Dallas visitors bureau said Ebola concerns have not impacted the number of in-bound visitors.
“We have received two requests for information to date from organizations scheduled to visit Dallas and the CVB is providing the latest information available from the city and county officials,” said Frank Librio, a vice president with the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“The groups were not concerned or cancelling their meetings,” he said. “They just wanted resources so I provided them with links for latest updates. We have not received any calls from tourists to my knowledge.”
The Ebola crisis has done little to dampen enthusiasm for the State Fair of Texas, which runs through Oct. 19 and drew a record opening day this year.
Karissa Schuler, a fair spokeswoman, said while people are talking about Ebola, it’s business as usual.
"Everyone appears to be having a great time at the Fair this year. It is a place where you can enjoy time with family and friends, create memories that will last a lifetime, say “Howdy!” to Big Tex and celebrate all things Texan."
She added that the organizers had made more hand sanitizer available this year and increased messaging throughout the grounds.
Other travel destinations are taking similar precautions.
At the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, the city has increased hand sanitizing locations and placing restroom attendants restrooms to ensure they stay clean.
Health care officials stress that Ebola patients cannot spread the virus to others until they themselves show symptoms, and unlike the cold or flu, Ebola is not airborne, which means it doesn't linger in the air.
So the likelihood of catching the flu is greater than Ebola, whether you're in Dallas or elsewhere.