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The Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce has erected a new sign in Albany telling out-of-state visitors to “Go Home, Please.” Chamber director Jan Crawford said they added the word “please” in order to “set a respectful tone.” (JAMIE FARR PHOTO)

CONWAY — In an unprecedented policy change, the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, long the foremost local tourism-promoting organization and has changed its motto from "Anything is Possible" to "Go Home, Please."

With urban dwellers from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New

York arriving to escape the coronavirus, the valley is full of cars with out-of-state plates.

These people are emptying supermarket shelves, clogging up pharmacies and, of course, are potential carriers of COVID-19.

“Normally we love second-home owners and tourists to visit our happy valley,” said chamber director Jan Crawford, “but not right now. We need to be isolated from our friends to the south and respectfully ask them to stay in their primary homes.”

To achieve that goal, the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber has erected a billboard on Route 16 in Albany that reads in bold letters, “Go Home, Please.” And in smaller type, it reads, “And leave the toilet paper in our stores.”

Crawford said her staff decided on “Go Home, Please’ because it sets a respectful tone.

“We want them to welcome back eventually, but not until the viral dust settles,” she said. “And even then, we will greet them at the border with open arms, thermometers and swabs.”

There were several other suggested phrases for the billboards that came from the chamber’s staff that were rejected because they were “less diplomatic,” according to Crawford.

“Some of these came from the gut, but as professional PR people, we had to zip it,” she said.

A few of the rejected suggestions:

• Keep Out: It’s the New Hampshire Way (and take your suburbs with you).”

• “Get the F*** out of town.”

•  “Hey Joey, Go Back to the North Shore.”

•  “Nothing’s Possible.”

Among activities that had been planned (but canceled already) for the “Nothing’s Possible” campaign were outdoor social distance ballroom dancing classes at local resorts (required was a minimum distance of 20 feet between dance partners); Mountainfest races (all contestants had to be distanced a county apart while competing separately on New Hampshire’s different peaks on different courses at the same time); and stay-at-home online cooking classes.

“We’d planned these events because it’s part of our job to promote the valley. But now they won’t happen because, hey, ‘Nothing’s Possible’ anymore, right?” said Crawford, who said she had to cut the interview short because there was a good movie coming on Showtime.

“That at least still is possible,” she said.

 

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(9) comments

John Josephs

April fools.

Alex Michaels

I find this to be in extreme poor taste, and won't accept "it's just a joke" as any form of amelioration. Perhaps you are fortunate not to have close friends or family in New York City, where bodies are being put into the refrigeration trucks parked outside of hospitals due to the rate at which they accrue, or an older family member who, if they contract this disease, is likely to come face to face with their own mortality, or own a small business that, while its objects cannot be infected with a virus, is still likely struggling to survive in this decimated economy. But yes, in the age of “viral” media and Facebook posts, I agree that the best way to lighten everyone’s mood is to potentially spark tempers and fan the flames of polarization. Certainly there could be no fallout, as we can be assured that there is no true fear in this situation, no true panic. Ultimately, we are grateful to have the astute journalism of The Conway Daily Sun to lead us through these trying times.

Frank Perry

Well said Mr. Michaels. The first thing I thought when I read this article, and one similar to it, was "Wow, what poor taste". I understand this is supposed to be a joke, but in a state where armed residents have already cut down a tree and blocked a driveway due to their fears, I find this joke irresponsible. Peoples fears have caused a lot of irrational behavior already and "Jokes" like this could be the small spark that causes more.

btamper

You're dumber than the guy you're replying to. Check your facts before posting.

Marz

They're just trying to lighten the mood of what everyone has thought even before this virus occured. Well - everyone except a transplant such as yourself. You are no different than the greasy rats that run through your cities. You do nothing but leave a wake of filth as you litter wherever you go. You will never be welcome here.

Alex Michaels

Thank you, Marz. Rather than denounce my response, yours aids it.

Marz

The following reply is not the views shared by the Conway Daily Sun. You have a disclaimer now stop blocking my post and my freedom of speech.

Lighten up they are just joking about what everyone is already thinking. Except maybe a transplant like you. Everyone thought this before the virus even occured. The true virus are all of you who come up here. You are no different than the rats that scurry about your cities. You leave nothing, but a trail of filth and garbage as you travel through our state and now much like rats on a sinking ship you are all trying to come up here. You were never welcome before the virus and you certainly are not welcome now.

Frank Perry

You just keep proving my point. Please, post more.

Marz

Alex you are welcome. Now go to NY with your family. It's the best place for you to be.

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