SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — It's rare during the pandemic for business owners to have previous experience with something, but this Labor Day weekend will be the second big holiday weekend in Santa Barbara County where beaches will be partially closed.
The beaches will be closed countywide to passive use which includes sitting, laying, sunbathing and barbecuing. Only active recreation will be allowed to prevent large crowds from gathering and spreading COVID-19.
Beach parking lots will also be closing to help deter people from stopping.
Santa Barbara has many businesses along the oceanfront. Some businesses use those beach parking lots for their customers.
"Obviously the foot traffic will be a little bit lower. We won't expect to do the incredible numbers that we did last year. However, you know we'll just continue to adapt and adjust," said Colin Lohenry, General Manager at Bluewater Grill.
"I think people are going to be really bummed that they can't sit on the sand, but it they want to be outside and have a nice time they can come here," said Gillian Conway, owner of Deep Sea Tasting Room.
The parking lots are closed from Friday morning through Tuesday. However, since beaches will be open for active recreation, rental companies are hoping to cash in on more customers.
"Every weekend it's been challenging you know to keep up with all the rentals. But, we've got a good fleet of boards and everything like that. So it should be pretty good," said Keegan Kujawa, manager of Beach House Rentals.
"We expect more people are probably going to be riding bikes and such. But it's also possible we'll have less people in town," said Wheel Fun Rentals manager Chuck Drew.
Overall, businesses are preparing for a slower holiday weekend due to COVID-19 restrictions, but they will keep hoping for a great end to the summer.