/'I don't see movies on the beach happening': What will summer be like in Calif. tourist spots?
'I don't see movies on the beach happening': What will summer be like in Calif. tourist spots?

'I don't see movies on the beach happening': What will summer be like in Calif. tourist spots?

'I don't see movies on the beach happening': What will summer be like in Calif. tourist spots?
lucmena/Getty Images/iStockphotoTo the south of Santa Cruz, the Big Sur coastline is another favorite Northern California destination that's less densely populated. Kirk Gafill, the president of the Big Sur chamber of commerce, thinks Big Sur will generally offer the same experience it delivers every summer with drives along the coast, hikes in the redwoods and walks on the beach, all activities that can easily be done while physically distancing from others. "I think it’s going to feel extremely normal," said Gafill. "I think the reminders will be when you walk through the front door of a business. When you go into a restaurant or a store or check into an inn. You’re going to be presented with all the same signage and messaging you’re seeing everywhere reminding you to socially distance. You see masks and hand sanitizer and social distancing markers." Gafill is the owner of Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur, a popular stop for road-trippers along California's Highway 1, and he said he's working with staff to prepare for a summer marked by mask-wearing and social distancing. "When a guest walks through our door, beyond saying things like, 'It's great to see you,' we might have to remind them to socially distance. Nobody likes to be told what to do. These are new skills. Our staff is going to wear masks and have to use more body language and be active with their eyes. Pay attention to their tone and intonation." But Gafill is confident that once diners sit at one of the tables — placed at least six feet from others — the experience of eating at his restaurant known for its jaw-dropping views will feel normal. "Once they sit down they’re going to feel very relaxed," he said. "While dining you don’t have to wear the face covering."

Kirk Gafill, the president of the Big Sur chamber of commerce, thinks Big Sur will generally offer the same experience it delivers every summer with drives along the coast, hikes in the redwoods and walks on the beach, all activities that can easily be done while physically distancing from others.

"I think it’s going to feel extremely normal," said Gafill. "I think the reminders will be when you walk through the front door of a business. When you go into a restaurant or a store or check into an inn. You’re going to be presented with all the same signage and messaging you’re seeing everywhere reminding you to socially distance. You see masks and hand sanitizer and social distancing markers."

Gafill is the owner of Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur, a popular stop for road-trippers along California's Highway 1, and he said he's working with staff to prepare for a summer marked by mask-wearing and social distancing.

"When a guest walks through our door, beyond saying things like, 'It's great to see you,' we might have to remind them to socially distance. Nobody likes to be told what to do. These are new skills. Our staff is going to wear masks and have to use more body language and be active with their eyes. Pay attention to their tone and intonation."

But Gafill is confident that once diners sit at one of the tables — placed at least six feet from others — the experience of eating at his restaurant known for its jaw-dropping views will feel normal. "Once they sit down they’re going to feel very relaxed," he said. "While dining you don’t have to wear the face covering."

'I don't see movies on the beach happening': What will summer be like in Calif. tourist spots?
Michael Marfell/Getty ImagesTahoe, Santa Cruz and Big Sur can all draw crowds in the summer and the South Lake mayor said this will be difficult to control when the order allows for travel. "Once the essential travel ban is lifted, legally I don’t know how we can restrict people from coming into the basin," Collin said. " Travel is one of those constitutional rights. We can’t put a gate to the entrance of Tahoe and only let locals in." Currently, it's difficult to travel to any of these locations as hotels and short-term rentals are only open to essential workers such as doctors, and Collin believes as the hospitality industry reopens, lodging sites will be required to restrict occupancy. Airbnb rentals will also have requirements, such as allowing 24 hours between rentals for cleaning. This will all limit the number of people who can vacation. "The bigger concern is day trips and some of the tourism data coming out across the state says that when people are going to want to travel and recreate again, it’s primarily going to be day-tripping," Collin said. "That has a huge impact on us, the physical impact of people coming into town, the environmental impact. There’s definitely a concern around that. We don’t have a failsafe strategy for that at this point." Amy Graff is a digital editor with SFGATE. Email her: [email protected]

"Once the essential travel ban is lifted, legally I don’t know how we can restrict people from coming into the basin," Collin said. " Travel is one of those constitutional rights. We can’t put a gate to the entrance of Tahoe and only let locals in."

Currently, it's difficult to travel to any of these locations as hotels and short-term rentals are only open to essential workers such as doctors, and Collin believes as the hospitality industry reopens, lodging sites will be required to restrict occupancy. Airbnb rentals will also have requirements, such as allowing 24 hours between rentals for cleaning. This will all limit the number of people who can vacation.

"The bigger concern is day trips and some of the tourism data coming out across the state says that when people are going to want to travel and recreate again, it’s primarily going to be day-tripping," Collin said. "That has a huge impact on us, the physical impact of people coming into town, the environmental impact. There’s definitely a concern around that. We don’t have a failsafe strategy for that at this point."

Amy Graff is a digital editor with SFGATE. Email her: [email protected]

'I don't see movies on the beach happening': What will summer be like in Calif. tourist spots?
Hana Davies/Getty Images/iStockphotoSanta Cruz Mayor Justin Cummings is also waiting for information from the state to determine when the seaside city (pop. 65,000) will be ready for tourists and suspects when that time comes, the summer travel season will look different in 2020 compared to past years. "In the summer, we usually have big events," Cummings say. "I don't see movies and concerts on the beach happening." The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a major attraction and economic generator and while Cummings is eager for it to reopen, he doesn't know when that will happen. "We want to get back to where we were as quickly as possible but we want to do it in a way that’s safe to the community," said Cummings. "Theme parks have really long lines where people are close to together. People are touching rides over and over. There’s a lot of potential for transmission. If they could come up with a protocol that was approved by the county health officers we might be able to get them up and running sooner. They did mention potentially opening up some restaurants and retail shops at the Boardwalk." Beach access is currently restricted in Santa Cruz with beaches closed to all activities except walking and running from 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily; the restriction is geared at stopping out-of-town visitors from flooding the region. Water-based activities such as surfing, paddleboarding and boogie boarding are allowed. Cummings isn't sure when the rules will be relaxed to allow activities such as picnicking and imagines certain activities could continue to be restricted into the summer. "We might get into a position where we could have activities such as sun bathing but it’s not clear at this point," he said.

"In the summer, we usually have big events," Cummings say. "I don't see movies and concerts on the beach happening."

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a major attraction and economic generator and while Cummings is eager for it to reopen, he doesn't know when that will happen.

"We want to get back to where we were as quickly as possible but we want to do it in a way that’s safe to the community," said Cummings. "Theme parks have really long lines where people are close to together. People are touching rides over and over. There’s a lot of potential for transmission. If they could come up with a protocol that was approved by the county health officers we might be able to get them up and running sooner. They did mention potentially opening up some restaurants and retail shops at the Boardwalk."

Beach access is currently restricted in Santa Cruz with beaches closed to all activities except walking and running from 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily; the restriction is geared at stopping out-of-town visitors from flooding the region. Water-based activities such as surfing, paddleboarding and boogie boarding are allowed.

Cummings isn't sure when the rules will be relaxed to allow activities such as picnicking and imagines certain activities could continue to be restricted into the summer.

"We might get into a position where we could have activities such as sun bathing but it’s not clear at this point," he said.

Currently Reading

'I don't see movies on the beach happening': What will summer be like in Calif. tourist spots?