SOUTH WALTON Fla. (WMBB)– Businesses are reporting a massive rise in foot traffic since the reopening memorial day.
Walton county tourism leaders say they’ve seen a 5-percent increase in tourists since so far this year and they expect that percentage to continue rising this weekend.
“Once they opened up short term rentals, it was like a light switch came on,” said Sally Bailey the owner of Amavida Coffee. “People have shown up and it has been non-stop ever since.”
Bailey said her Rosemary Beach business got off to a slow start because of COVID-19. But she said she’s finally seeing the spike in sales that would typically have started during spring break.
“They have been coming ever since Memorial week and it has been non-stop. So you know, we are having fourth of July weeks all summer long, it feels like,” said Bailey.
Bailey’s not the only one grateful for the increase in tourist traffic.
“And it has just been overwhelming and we are just so happy, and so pleased and so thankful that we have people back again,” said Kim Wilson the store manager at Hissyfits boutique.
Although Wilson worked during the quarantine, the store was not open to customers, resulted in significant sales losses.
“Yea it was a negative, I mean we lost a lot of business for that almost two months,” said Wilson. “But we could catch up. Our store was completely cleaned, and we could catch up on our stock work.”
Now it’s a matter of keeping customers safe.
“Signs just like this one are lining storefronts in Rosemary Beach. They are saying to wear masks and to stay six feet apart. With the increase in foot traffic, it is their way to ensure customers are staying safe while shopping.”
“We do have to limit the number of people in the store just for everyone’s safety,” said Wilson.
“We are requiring our customers to also wear masks,” said Bailey. “So if they do not come with one we will obviously provide it for them.”
The majority of the visitors seem to be happy to comply with the extra safety measures along 30-A.
“There have been a couple of concerns, just being safe, keeping hand sanitizer with you, and just wearing your mask in public places,” said Trey Reiner, a Dallas resident.
“I feel like we are protecting others wearing a mask, as well as ourselves,” said Tiffany Reiner, another texas resident.