Delaware’s coastal towns face uncertain tourist season, prepare for green light
DELAWARE – Delaware’s coastal towns are facing an uncertain future with business struggling and towns predicting a major loss of revenue.
“I can’t think of who hasn’t been touched by this in some way,” says Carol Everhart, the President and CEO of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce.
The shoulder season in Delaware’s coastal towns is looking very different this year. “The restaurants, the shops, all the non-essential businesses it’s really been tough on them,” says Gene Langan, the Mayor of Fenwick Island.
Mayors up and down the state’s shoreline say their towns and cities are suffering with zero tourism. “Probably 100 percent of businesses in Dewey are having monetary issues right now,” says Dale Cooke, the Mayor of Dewey Beach.
Not only are businesses feeling the effects but the towns themselves are already predicting a financial hit. “We already believe as of now we’re going to be short on projected income anywhere from 7 to 8 to 900 thousand dollars to a million and a half dollars,” says Cooke.
Officials say one of the hardest parts of all of this is the uncertainty of when things will start to get back to normal. “We’re trying just to develop a plan without the time frame because we don’t know the time frame. We really don’t. It’s out of our control completely,” says Langan.
But in the meantime they’re trying to support each other and stay informed. “Our job at this point is to be on as many informational calls as we can be on to try and coordinate the business with the local municipal leaders and to disseminate that information,” says Everhart.
Once they’re given the green light, they want to be ready to welcome visitors in a responsible way. “I know people are chomping at the bit to get down here but we have to do it in a way that people don’t get sick and don’t spread this virus,” says Langan.
A concern that many officials have is that if one area opens, it will be inundated with visitors if other areas stay closed. So officials say told that the Association of Coastal Towns, which is made up of the seven southern beach towns, is working together to make sure they have consistent plans.