CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Spring break in the Lowcountry will look a little different this year.
Leaders say they’re trying to find a way to get tourists to town while keeping everyone safe.
Restaurants and hotels have felt the effects of COVID-19 the hardest. In Charleston, experts estimate the industry saw a more than 5 billion dollar deficit. Leaders from the industry say they are doing everything they can to provide a safe visit in hopes of getting tourism numbers up.
“We’re optimistic we’re seeing a bump,” says Dan Blumenstock, Director of hotels for Lowcountry Hotels.
“I am, I am very optimistic,” says Eli Hyman, owner of Hymans’s Seafood.
Hotel and restaurant leaders are holding onto optimism as they prepare for the 2021 season and while the industry was hit hard by COVID-19, they say it’s beginning to crawl back.
“We’ve seen very small indicators right now of a very slight increase in travel,” says Dan Blumenstock.
COVID-19 precautions at hotels and restaurants remain a focal point from the time you check in until the time you leave. Industry leaders hope the measures will provide a sense of safety.
“Whether I have one room occupied or all of my rooms occupied, we’re going to have the same policies and procedures in place for all guests that are coming in and out,” says Dan Blumenstock.
For Eli Hyman of Hyman’s Seafood, he says customers numbers and groups visiting the restaurant remain down which has led his restaurant to scale back operations.
“The numbers have been challenging but we are doing the best we can,” says Hyman. “Tourism is definitely down. We haven’t seen that, we haven’t been doing any wedding rehearsals or receptions.”
It’s a sense of hope hat spring will see a return to some form of normalcy for an industry in need of a strong tourism season.
“We’re just really cautiously optimistic about what the future holds,” says Blumenstock. “So we’re preparing for the long run.”
Restaurant and hotel owners I spoke with say they feel like they’ve weathered the worst of the storm from the pandemic and are looking forward to a return to normalcy as spring and summer approach.