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Large number of spring break travelers providing big boost to Pismo Beach businesses

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Visitors to Pismo Beach fill Pomeroy Street and Pier Plaza. (Scott Hennessee/KEYT)

PISMO BEACH, Calif. -- Pismo Beach is a very busy place this week.

Spring break travelers are filling city streets, beaches, hotels, campgrounds, shops and restaurants, providing a huge boost to local businesses.

"Everybody has been coming to Pismo," said Lisa Kruitbosch, Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce board member. "It's bright. It sunshiny here and it's one of the best places to be here in California, so we have had a lot of tourism. I don't know if it has really stopped. It seems like we've been going full bore since last summer."

Kruitbosch added many businesses are taking advantage of the thousands of visitors coming to the city each day.

"Our hoteliers and some of our businesses are having record days," said Kruitbosch. "They're selling so much stuff in some of the small boutique stores, they've not sold that much in years. It's great to see for our small businesses, our mom and pops, and our hotels are sold out right now, so it's a good thing that people are coming here."

She stressed how important the large visitor volume is to the business community and local economy.

"Anytime you are in a small little town, a beach community, and you have mom and pop businesses, it's so important to have the traffic and help keep them open," said Kruitbosch. "We can't stay open if we don't have people coming here to our town, so it's helping these mom and pops. It's helping them have employees and it's helping those employees be able to pay their bills."

All throughout the week, and over the course of the past two months, places like Splash Cafe have experienced a notable increase in customers.

"We're doing great," said owner Joanne Currie. "It's really busy. Lots of customers. Lots of people from all over. It's been a continuous line of customers, pretty much from open to close, which is really wonderful after the last year we've gone through. It's really nice to see things come back to normal back again."

Currie noted that while the entire spring break season has so far been successful, this week in particular has been a blockbuster.

"This was the big week of spring break, the week before Easter, that's when the San Joaquin Valley school system is out, so traditionally, they've always been visitors to Pismo Beach, so that's the big influx of people," said Currie.

Down Pomeroy Avenue, Cowboy Cookie & Ice Cream has also been enjoyed robust sales over the past two months.

"It's been definitely busy, especially the week days, it's been double the sales it usually is," said manager Katie Gonzalez. "We have been definitely busy and trying to keep up with it and always trying to have enough people."

Currie has seen many people walk through the doors at Splash Cafe.

She's owned it for 30 years and has helped establish the restaurant as one of the most popular and biggest draws in the city.

With so much experience in business, she has noticed 2021 spring break is a little bit different than those in years past.

"This year it's been interesting," said Currie. "A lot more people that are first timers, a lot more people that haven't been to Pismo before."

Among the many first time visitors to the city this week has been the Pursley family from Orange County.

They spent part of their Wednesday relaxing on the beach close to the pier.

"We were just itching to get out and wanted to go somewhere coastal and not Orange County and Pismo was the place," said Stephen Pursley. "It's beautiful. The weather has been amazing. We've been out to the wineries. We've been down here to the beach. It's exactly what we needed to break the Covid curse."

The large amount of visitors comes at the same time the California Department of Public Health continues to advise people remain close to home.

Current state guidance recommends that people not travel more than 120 miles from their home and avoid non-essential travel.

"If you want to look at the mileage wise, Fresno and Bakersfield are within that 120 miles," said Kruitbosch. "I think for the most part people are being respectful. They are wearing their mask. They are being careful. We do live in a tourist town, so we have to embrace the tourists. We need it for our businesses. We don't want our businesses boarded up and closing."

However, after a year of COVID-19 related restrictions, people are traveling in greater numbers, particularly as many restrictions are loosening up across the state.

In addition, vaccine distribution is ramping up giving some people a greater comfort in traveling outside their home area.

Traditional cool weather in Pismo Beach is also a big draw this week.

While some parts of the state are seeing temperatures approaching 90 degrees, Pismo Beach is seeing temperatures in the 70's and 60's.

This week's busy spring break continues a strong trend for the city.

Throughout much of 2020 during the pandemic, Pismo Beach remained a popular draw for tourists.

Its ideal location in the state made it an easy place to travel to for visitors from all parts of California.

As Pismo Beach continues with spring break for another few weeks, city government is reminding visitors to be mindful of safety and have patience.

In a statement to NewsChannel, the City of Pismo Beach, the city said, "We want to remind those visiting from outside counties that they should abide by local regulations. We remain in Red tier in SLO, and other places may have more relaxed restrictions. It is important that everyone remain safe, regardless of vaccine status and be respectful while they enjoy the community we call home.

When people are parking, don’t block driveways, and be mindful when pulling out of a space that children may be around. An extra glance over their shoulder can save a life."

Business Matters / California / Economy / Lifestyle / Money and Business / Outdoors / Safe at Home / San Luis Obispo County
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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.

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