Fourth of July brings extra revenue to Crystal Coast businesses
EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WITN) -
Businesses owners along the coast are seeing more money in their pockets to start the week, after a busy Fourth of July weekend for beach goers. But now there are questions about how the increased traffic could impact the spread of the coronavirus locally.
"We had a pretty good weekend. Travel still seems to be going pretty well," says Charles Gillikin, who manages The Village Market in Emerald Isle.
Emerald Isle officials say they estimate more than 20,000 visitors spent the holiday weekend in just their town alone.
Those extra tourism dollars are helping businesses stay afloat during the a difficult time.
"We're definitely still recovering from the beginning of it. Everybody took a pretty hard hit on that. We shut down and got back open as fast as we could," Gillikin adds.
But it wasn’t just Emerald Isle - visitors flocked to beaches all along the Crystal Coast this past weekend.
In Atlantic Beach, an ice cream shop owner says the holiday was a culmination of the past several weeks.
"Since we re-opened around Mother's Day, the crowds have been very consistent with past years," Don Grant, the owner of AB Ice Cream & Candy Shoppe explains.
Those crowds are leaving some people concerned about further spikes in COVID-19 cases amid already increasing numbers.
Others are taking it a day-at-a-time.
"You know honestly, we're going day by day. I don't know. If I say it's about the same as last year now, I don't know what next week is going to bring. I really don't," Grant adds.
"I mean it is a potential concern, but like I said earlier, I think it's been such a long ordeal that we're excited to feel like summer feels a little normal," says Morehead City resident Colleen Donhert, who spent visited the beach this past weekend with friends.
And though this summer entails a new normal for many, some are taking the same safety precautions they always have.
"We eat well, and eat whole foods, and exercise. So we're really just continuing to do the same things," Donhert adds.
Health officials in Carteret, Dare, and Hyde counties all says recommendations for those who visited crowded beaches remain consistent with current state guidelines.
They say that just because someone was at a crowded beach that does not mean they have to quarantine or get tested right away.
However they advised people to continue to monitor their symptoms and consult with their physician.
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