Memorial Day crowds helping Tybee businesses

Memorial Day crowds helping Tybee businesses

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - After weeks of being closed, many Tybee Island businesses say they’re happy to have turned the closed sign to open again.

"I miss talking to people! That's what the most fun part is, to be in here and meet people,” Granny Flounders owner Sara Ramaker said.

Granny Flounders’ doors haven't been reopened for long, but Memorial Day weekend has already brought in the crowds.

"That first weekend was kind of slow, but definitely this weekend, with the holiday and everything, people are coming back out,” Ramaker said.

Businesses say the spring is usually the busiest time of the year. Having missed it, picking back up where they left off is tough and they don't know when business will be back to normal.

"It's so iffy at this point. It could be that this summer will be great, and it could be that people are still afraid of getting out and it could be next year,” Tipsy Mermaid Art owner Frank McInvale said.

"I'm hoping that we can see some normalcy more through the summer and into the fall,” Ramaker said.

But this holiday weekend has made a difference even though for some, it's still not the usual crowd.

"It's been a big help and I've had a lot of people save. They come in the shop and they want to promote the local businesses,” Ramaker said.

"We actually keep account of how many people come through so we know what weekends are busiest throughout the year and we're about half of what we were last year,” McInvale said.

The Tybee Island Development Authority/Main Street program is providing COVID-19 business assistance. Businesses can apply for a business recovery grant, marketing assistance, a temporary outdoor seating permit and sand dollar gift certificates.

"Relief would help,” McInvale said.

"Postponing any late fees, business licenses and registration that sort of thing. We're extending those deadlines so people can get their feet on the ground first. The community development staff has been bending over backwards to try to make it work,” Tybee Island City Manager Shawn Gillen said.

Businesses say they do expect to still have plenty of foot traffic all week.

"Usually, the week after a holiday is pretty good, so we’re looking forward to this next week,” McInvale said.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.