Tourism-dependent East End preps for tough Memorial Day weekend
The tourism-dependent East End is preparing for a tough Memorial Day weekend.
Normally, there would be a lot of excitement on eastern Long Island just days away from Memorial Day weekend. It's the unofficial start to summer, and when the bulk of the businesses in the area does the large majority of their sales for the year.
Tourism is a nearly $5.5 billion industry on Long Island.
When the pandemic first hit in March, a lot of people thought that by Memorial Day weekend, things would be at least partially back to normal -- but it certainly is not.
Bed and breakfast inns have been especially hard hit. They haven't had guests for months and were counting on this weekend to start opening again.
"There are going to be a lot of challenges. We have to think about service for these guests, where they go and sit, like the living room. How do we keep things clean and safe?" says Rick Coffey, of East Marion's Coffey House Bed & Breakfast.
Duncan Kennedy says about half the rooms in his Jamesport motel are booked this coming weekend, but callers have lots of questions.
"Are you open? What's going to happen when I get there? How does curbside work?" says Kennedy.
Ice cream shops, charter fishing boats and restaurants also stand to lose out on a lot of money just this weekend in an area dependent on tourism.
For 20 years, Dave Berson has been giving sightseeing tours out of Greenport Harbor. He says he looks forward to this time of the year - but things are much different this time around.
"Memorial Day is like the Pavlovian bell that rings and people immediately say '"summer...begin!'" says Berson, of Greenport Electric Launch Co.