Tybee sees more people following guidelines over Labor Day weekend

Tybee sees more people following guidelines over Labor Day weekend

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Vacationers and visitors who came to Tybee Island for the Labor Day weekend are soaking up their last bit of sunshine before another work week.

The mayor says this weekend was a great success for the city even though it was hustling and bustling with people.

Mayor Shirley Sessions says the Labor Day crowd was about the same as the Memorial Day and 4th of July crowds, but what was different was the amount of respect people showed for the island.

Mayor Sessions says as they do with all busy weekends, the city prepares for anything and everything. This includes making sure the staffing is adequate to enforce rules and watch out for peoples’ safety.

Sessions says for the most part the code enforcement team handed out tickets for things like bringing dogs or glass on the beach and gave warnings for people on the sandbar. Sessions says weekend crowds like these can often get out of hand, but this weekend she was impressed by the much more relaxed crowd.

“There was a calmer presence, there were more families, there were clearly more people adhering to the social distancing and wearing masks. It was a completely different turn from July 4, Memorial Day and fast forward to Labor Day,” said Mayor Sessions.

Both Sunday and Monday were red flag days, meaning water conditions can be dangerous, but Sessions says there haven’t been any rescues that have had to be made.

The weekend was so busy, every rental property was booked.

Tybee Beach Vacation Rentals manages about 200 properties. A few months ago, they say, if you would’ve told them they would have this much business right now they wouldn’t have believed it. They say it’s what they’ve needed.

In April, Keith Gay, a Managing Partner of Tybee Beach Vacation Rentals, says he wasn’t sure how the summer season would fare for business.

“Losses were outrageous. A good part of the last two weeks of March, all of April we lost and the first couple weeks of May were very challenging,” said Gay.

However, since Memorial Day, Gay says their bookings have been, what he calls, intense.

“We have been, literally, packed all of June, all of July and almost all of August particularly the weekends.”

Gay says their greatest surprise has been of recent. He says this is because most of the time in August when school starts back up things slow down. Now that so many schools have gone virtual families can still go on trips.

“We’re fully booked on the island.”

Labor Day typically brings in a crowd, but Gay says this is the first time in many years that the island has been completely booked. This includes other rental companies too.

“You almost always had some inventory available for emergencies. Some air conditioning goes out so you need to move people to another location, but we didn’t have that convenience this year.”

Gay says about 75 percent of their bookings are done last minute. He believes this is because people have more flexibility with work because it’s done remote.

“We have more volume consistently that we have experienced at the same time of the year this year as years prior.”

This level of clientele is what Gay says he expects to continue.

“My expectations would be that we’re going to have a busier winter than we’ve had in the past.”

Properties are sanitized before and after clients have a stay at the properties. Gay says they did lose 40 percent of their cleaning time and are looking for help in this regard.

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