By Melissa Locker
April 08, 2020

Gatlinburg is normally a bustling town. Some folks who wait in the long line for the SkyBridge or for a cinnamon roll at the Donut Friar might even say it’s too bustling. Not these days. As the South buckles down to safely ride out the coronavirus pandemic, the streets of Gatlinburg have turned silent and empty and strangely beautiful, too.

The video was captured by Ben Childers, who the local NBC News outlet WCYB reports, is a FAA Part 107 Drone pilot. Since drones are the perfect way to capture images while staying safe and socially distanced, Childers flew the automated aircraft over Downtown Gatlinburg soon after the mayors and city managers of Sevier County, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Pittman Center, and Sevierville asked non-essential businesses and services to temporarily close to the public to halt the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Childers’s drone captured an eerily empty downtown area with many of the popular shops and tourist attractions closed for the duration of the pandemic. He posted the footage on his Youtube channel and it’s a strange sight. Not only is the footage an interesting window into what the world looks like right now as we all hunker down at home, but it will undoubtedly serve as an incredible time capsule of this strange chapter in world history to show future generations.

While the town waits for the world to return to normal and for the streets of Gatlinburg to start filling up again, Mayor Mike Werner assures us all that the town will be ready and waiting as soon as this all fades into the background. “Please stay safe, stay healthy and stay home and the mountains will be waiting for you,” he wrote in a letter posted to the town’s website. “We'll look forward to seeing you when the crucial threat of this virus passes." For now, though, he wants the people that love Gatlinburg to stay healthy, because keeping your family safe is more important than traveling right now or beating the lines at the Donut Friar.