HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - Tourism is the largest industry on Hilton Head Island and every year July 4 brings massive amounts of revenue.
Just one month ago, leaders were worried people wouldn’t come to the island this year; worsening the already suffering tourism industry. But Friday, that is not the case.
Leaders in the hotel industry on the island say Hilton Head is at nearly 100 percent capacity. But while some tourists disregard social distancing, some say they are still being extremely careful.
“I have severe COPD and a heart condition, so I’m one of those that if I catch it it’s all over. So, I’m pretty careful,” visitor Mary Hinez said.
But she says staying outdoors while on the island has made her feel safe. Especially since she has been quarantining for months.
“This is the first time in two months that I have been out and about amongst people,” Hinez said.
Friday, Coligny Beach was packed with thousands of tourists who came to the island, all here to celebrate Independence Day.
Local workers say it is a big change from the last few months.
“It has been crazy busy. In the mornings, it’s slow because all the tourists sleep in. But then towards the middle of the night, it’s like an animal house. It’s so crazy. We have lines just wrapped around the kiosk,” HHI worker Bethany Heinz said.
In Coligny Plaza, once the beaches clear out, the businesses fill-in.
“Nighttime, we have live music on the stage every night at 6:30. So it definitely feels up around then. Kind of the crowds moves in- out for dinner,” HHI worker Garrett Seman said.
They say the change is welcome for their businesses, but they are still trying to stay safe.