Baltimore officials are working vigorously to ramp up security throughout the city and reassure visitors of their safety in the wake of prolonged unrest that led to violent riots, looting, theft and burnings on Monday.
The disturbances began over the weekend and escalated on Monday following the funeral of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spine injury in police custody earlier this month.
While it remains to be seen whether Monday's unsettling events will stain the city's image and impact tourism long-term, the immediate concern is ensuring the safety of city residents and current visitors, including those attending this week's Food Safety Summit at the Baltimore Convention Center, scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
A statement from the venue said it "remains open as scheduled to service our events."
"We remain in contact with the Mayor's Office, the Baltimore City Police Department, and The Downtown Partnership Safety Coalition while they monitor new developments," said the statement courtesy of Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner.
The city's tourism website, Visit Baltimore issued a warning to visitors:
"In the wake of the tragic death of Freddie Gray and days of peaceful protests, disturbances have erupted in Baltimore. While much of the police activity has been away from the downtown, groups of youth have threatened to enter the downtown area. The situation remains fluid, so visitors are encouraged to check the Baltimore Police Department website, www.baltimorepolice.org, for the latest information."
On Tuesday morning, Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake noted that citizens were coming together to begin restoration efforts:
Downtown Baltimore also made an encouraging announcement just hours after widespread riots:
While repairing and rebuilding the city will take some time, it could potentially be longer before the city's tourism industry recovers.
Therefore, in the coming days and weeks, ensuring and promoting safety will be paramount for city officials as they work to restore the city and win back the confidence of tourists.
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