That’s how Skyler McManus described business at Hamel’s on the Mission Beach boardwalk Fourth of July weekend.
“It’s actually picked way up,” the business owner said. “It almost feels like it was last year.”
McManus and other store and restaurant owners at Mission Beach said they were thankful that the city of San Diego decided not to close beach parking lots after the state requested they do so to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Heavy crowds Saturday were not as large as usual, but most of the people who parked on the sand appeared to be out-of-towners from places like Arizona and Nevada.
They brought their wallets and spent money on food, souvenirs, bicycle, and surfboard rentals.
“The business that we’re getting is a little bit higher than usual because people are really looking for that recreational option at the beach,” said Matthew Gardner, who owns Mission Beach Rentals on the south end of Belmont Park.
Gardner told NBC 7 his business has been better than usual since the middle of June when COVID-19 restrictions were eased and people began leaving the shelter of their homes.
Gardner said he feels sorry for his friends in the restaurant business because they’re the ones most likely to face new restrictions now that the numbers of coronavirus cases are rising in San Diego County.
“My heart goes out to them,” Gardner said. “We had a short recovery period and it takes a lot of effort, it takes a lot of financial and time commitment to get your businesses back open again and to hire people again. Also, to figure out what’s gonna be happening again, and to have the rug pulled out from under you again, that’s a really difficult thing to manage as a business.”
Restaurants in San Diego County learned shortly before the long holiday weekend that the county health department had imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on top of social distancing requirements that allow them to only seat half as many customers.
“We did all right yesterday, but not what we usually do,” said Mike Soltan, who owns Kojak’s Greek and American Restaurant. “We had to close the door by 10 and there were like 1,000 people outside so we (had to) lock them out.”
On a normal Fourth of July, Soltan says his restaurant continues serving gyros and burgers to hungry crowds until 2 a.m.
Soltan hopes any new restrictions won’t impact his business. He said it would be crippling if beaches or beach parking lots were closed.
“We don’t need another shutdown, I mean we’re already hurting the way it is, so hopefully, you know, things won’t be as bad," he said.
If new restrictions are imposed, they would go into effect by Tuesday, July 7, and last a minimum of three weeks.