Be Prepared for 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Visitors

There is more than picking a viewing spot and grabbing your official viewing glasses to prepare for the total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8. Lawrence County hotels, rentals and camp sites are expected to be full of eclipse enthusiasts. With this unusual influx of tourists, local merchants and residents will need to be prepared.

What to Expect

Thousands of eclipse fans will start arriving the week of April 1 with the majority arriving by the weekend prior to the eclipse (April 5 , 6 & 7). They will not only need lodging. These travelers will also eat at local restaurants, stock their campsites with food and supplies and fill their vehicles with gas.

How Residents Can Prepare

Shop early. Consider stocking up on groceries and household items up to two weeks prior to the eclipse, the week of March 25. Fill all your vehicles with gas by Thursday, April 4.

Make all important appointments and get prescriptions filled prior to Friday, April 5 or after Tuesday, April 9.

If possible, stay home on Monday, April 8. As visitors depart, traffic will be extremely heavy immediately following the total solar eclipse, which will end around 3:10 p.m. Expect long delays on the roads due to clogged interstates and highways. While schools will be closed that day, consider picking up children from daycare prior to 3pm.

How Merchants Can Prepare

Stock up and staff up. This will be an all-hands-on deck weekend (April 5, 6, 7 & 8). Order stock early. Expect delivery delays from April 5 – 8. Help employees develop a plan to get to work, planning for heavy traffic, particularly on Monday, April 8 in the afternoon. Consider starting afternoon shifts early on that day to avoid driving during the eclipse and encountering heavy departure traffic at around 3:30 p.m.

Welcome visitors with food and drink specials, “Welcome Eclipse Visitors” signage, expanded parking (if possible) and increased trash receptacles outside your business.

How Visitors Can Prepare

Bring cash. We anticipate cellular and internet connections to be overloaded with transactions causing possible delays at the cash registers. Keep your vehicle fueled up to avoid getting stranded should local gas supplies deplete.

Timing Recap

Week of March 25

  • Local residents should consider stocking up on groceries and household items.

By Thursday, April 4 

  • Residents should make sure all their prescriptions are filled to get them through Monday, April 8.
  • Residents should fill all vehicles with gas.

Friday – Sunday, April 5, 6 & 7

  • The majority of visitors will arrive and stay at hotels, rentals and campsites.

Monday, April 8

  • Eclipse process begins at 1:48pm (the Moon starts to align with the Sun)
  • Total solar eclipse occurs 3:04:48 p.m. (Moon has completely aligned with the Sun creating total darkness)
  • Total solar eclipse ends 3:08:30 p.m.
  • We are expecting most visitors to leave immediately following the total eclipse.

General Safety Tips

  • Emergency services will be fully staffed and in high demand. Refrain from contacting 911 unless it is a true emergency. For non-emergency situations, call:
    • Central Dispatch 812-275-3316
    • Bedford Dispatch 812-275-3311
  • When driving, use headlights during the dark periods of the eclipse. Consider packing bottled water, extra blankets and snacks in your vehicle in case you get stuck in traffic. Otherwise, avoid being on the roads on Monday afternoon and evening, April 8.
  • On Monday, April 8, expect cellular and internet service interruptions due to volume.  We recommend paying with cash.

Viewing Safety Tips

  • It is never safe to stare directly at the sun without proper filters. Viewing glasses will be available at hotels, campsites and some eclipse event sites, while supplies last.
  • During eclipse process, sun rays become especially concentrated and can reach the back of your eyes, causing permanent damage to your retina.
  • Official viewing glasses or a certified viewing card are the only safe way to view the eclipse.
  • Binoculars, telescopes, regular sunglasses are not safe to use.

Being prepared is essential to enjoying this rare opportunity to witness a total solar eclipse. We look forward to welcoming eclipse enthusiasts and experiencing this incredible astrological event with you!

Lodging Options


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Photo credits: Adam Smith, Lisa Careau, Mike Newbry, Joshua Rawson-Harris, Stephen Picilaidis

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