Smith Island sees more overnight guests, less day trippers during pandemic
SMITH ISLAND, Md. – The pandemic has impacted tourism all across Delmarva including Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay.
Islanders there tell 47 ABC there are usually two big tour boats running but there’s just one running this year and only from Thursday through Sunday each week. That means the island is seeing less day trippers but locals say it seems like overnight stays have increased compared to last year so bed and breakfasts as well as rental homes are doing pretty well.
Some believe the island is being impacted this way because it serves as a unique getaway during a time like this. “It’s terrible what’s been going on in the world. But they can come here and walk down the street and not worry about it. They can let their kids go on bikes and ride up and down the street and not worry about it,” says Darren Jones, a Smith Island resident and owner of Smith Island Bakery.
Some residents say many parts of the island rely on tourists but they feel like they’re walking a fine line with visitors coming to the island because they have reportedly not had any cases of COVID-19. As for the future, locals say the island will need to come into the 21st century with things like reliable WiFi if they want to survive and welcome other small businesses.