LONG ISLAND’S BEACHES PREPARE FOR AN UNPRECEDENTED MEMORIAL DAY

SUMMER TOURISM IS A MAJOR ECONOMIC DRIVER AND SOURCE OF TAX REVENUE.

“CONCIERGES” WILL JOIN LIFEGUARDS ON THE TOWN OF HEMPSTEAD’S BEACHES TO ENCOURAGE HEALTH-CONSCIOUS BEHAVIOR.

DISCOVER LONG ISLAND’S #HOLDFAST CAMPAIGN AIMS TO INSPIRE LONG ISLANDERS TO VACATION LOCALLY WHEN THE CRISIS EASES.

 

Long Island’s beach towns rely on summer tourism for their local economies, but with cancelled events and 50% capacity caps, will the mom and pop shops that make up these destinations be able to stay afloat? For visitors who do descend on the area this Memorial Day weekend, health measures will be key in making them–as well as workers and locals–feel safe as they try to find some normalcy in this time of crisis. Don Clavin (Town of Hempstead Supervisor), Kristen Jarnagin (President & CEO of Discover Long Island) and Frank Borrelli (Owner of Borrelli’s) discuss the very different upcoming summer landscape with Correspondent Maddie Orton.

Aired on May 21, 2020. 

TRANSCRIPT

HI.

I'M MADDIE ORTON, MEMORIAL DAY ON LONG ISLAND USUALLY INVOLVES A AIR SHOW, CROWDED CONCESSION STANDS AND CONCERTS, BUT NOT THIS YEAR, THE UNOFFICIAL START TO SUMMER AND TOURISM THAT COMES WITH IT WILL LOOK VERY DIFFERENT IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS.

MAY AND JUNE ARE NORMALLY THE BUSIEST MONTHS FOR THIS 65-YEAR-OLD RESTAURANT.

THERE ARE COMMUNIONS AND GRADUATIONS AND ANY TIME AN EVENT IS AT A NEAR-BY COLISEUM THEY HAVE BANG UP BUSINESS.

WE WILL OPEN THE KITCHEN AND HAVE EXTRA DISHWASHERS, EIGHT WAITERS, BUS BOYS, BECAUSE AN HOUR AND HALF BEFORE THE GAME WE'LL FILL UP THE RESTAURANT AND GET EXTRA 75% OF BUSINESS ON TUESDAY NIGHT.

EVERY EVENT CANCELLED IS GUARANTEE BUSINESS YOU CAN'T MAKE UP.

JUST AUTOMATIC.

HE SAYS WITH THE DINING ROOM CLOSED, PARTIES CANCELLED AND HOCKEY GAMES AND CONCERTS ON HOLD BUSINESS IS DOWN ABOUT 80%.

ON WEEKENDS I HAVE 35 PEOPLE WORKING ON A SHIFT, RIGHT NOW I ONLY HAVE ABOUT 8 TO 10 WORKING.

I KEPT 6 TO 8 FULL TIME EMPLOYEES.

I'M CONCERNED, FOR SURE.

IT'S NOT GOING TO BE WHAT WE EVER EXPECTED OR LIVED THROUGH.

PRESIDENT AND CEO OF 'DISCOVER LONG ISLAND' SAYS IT IS ALREADY CLEAR THIS SUMMER WILL BE UNLIKE ANY THE AREA HAS EXPERIENCED.

SO MANY OF OUR TOURISM BUSINESSES ON LONG ISLAND IN PARTICULAR MORE THAN 80% ARE MADE UP OF SMALL BUSINESSES.

THESE ARE DOWNTOWN RETAIL, RESTAURANTS, MOM AND POP OWNED HOTELS.

IT'S NOT LIKE OTHER DESTINATIONS WITH LARGE CHAINS EVERYWHERE SO WE ARE REALLY IMPACTED LOCALLY.

VISITORS WHO TYPICALLY COME FOR CONCERTS OR THE BEACH SCENE, THEY DON'T JUST EAT HERE, THEY STAY AT HOTELS, PAY FOR PARKING, BUY SOUVENIRS AND THE ECONOMIC IMPACT RIPPLES OUT FROM THERE.

IT PUMPS MONEY TO LOCAL BUSINESSES AND PROVIDES SUBSTANTIAL LOCAL STATE REVENUE.

VISITORS COME HERE TO EAT, SHOP, SLEEP, GET GAS, AND FROM A GOOD THING FROM OUR STANDPOINT THOSE VISITORS LEAVE, YOU DON'T HAVE TO EDUCATE THEM OR FILL POTHOLES.

IT'S NEW MONEY THAT COMES DOWN INTO THE COFFERS AND IS REALLY IMPORTANT FOR LOCAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT.

LAST YEAR THOSE REVENUE GENERATED $740 MILLION IN LOCAL AND STATE REVENUES AND WE ARE MISSING THE TAX REVENUE AND VISITORS, WE FEEL THAT IMMEDIATELY AS RESIDENTS.

THE LOSS THIS YEAR WILL BE SUBSTANTIAL.

IN ADDITION TO THE TYPICAL FLUX OF BEACH GOERS, LONG ISLAND ALSO SEES A SPIKE IN OUT OF TOWN VISITORS FOR THE BELMONT STAKES, FILM FESTIVALS AND OTHER EVENTS CANCELLED OR CURRENTLY UP IN THE AIR.

BUT THEY'RE HOPEFUL CHANGES IN TRAVEL PLANS WILL MEAN LONG ISLANDS WILL BE MORE LIKELY TO VACATION LOCALLY AND SPEBD LOCALLY.

LONG ISLAND IS IN A MORE PROMISING POSITION THAN MOST OTHER PEOPLE.

WE HAVE OVER 3 MILLION LONG ISLANDERS WHO FIERCELY LOVE WHERE WE LIVE AND LOVE TO SUPPORT OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY AND WE CAN FALL BACK ON THEM.

WE ALSO HAVE MANHATTAN AS OUR NEIGHBOR AND SUCH CLOSELY CONNECTED TIES, SO MANY OF OUR FAMILIES LIVE THERE, WE WORK BACK AND FORTH AND WE'RE CLOSE TO THE DRIVE MARKET.

THAT'S A NEW STRATEGY FOR MOST TOURISM BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE NOT GETTING ON PLANES SO YOU ARE LOOKING INTO THE DRIVE MARKET AND OUR DRIVE MARKET IS NOT JUST NEW YORK CITY BUT IT'S PHILADELPHIA AND IT'S WASHINGTON, D.C.

AND IT'S BOSTON.

SO WE HAVE SEVERAL MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREAS THAT AS WE START TO SLOWLY, MORE GRADUALLY OPEN UP AND GO BROADER AND BROADER THAT WE HAVE BUILT-IN AUDIENCES WE CAN TAP, THEY CAN GET IN THEIR CAR AND JUMP ON THE TRAIN AND ACCESS US EASILY.

WE FEEL POSITIVE ABOUT THAT.

DISCOVER LONG ISLAND IS SPREADING THOSE POSITIVE VIBES, THEY LAUNCHED A CAMPAIGN TO ENCOURAGE LOCALS TO STAY STRONG AND SPEND TIME ON LONG ISLAND WHEN THE CRISIS EASES UP.

WE'RE MARKETING ORGANIZATION AND USUALLY INSPIRING PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD TO VISIT LONG ISLAND TO KNOW WHY LONG ISLAND IS SO BEAUTIFUL BUT WE PIVOTED DURING THIS TIME AND REALIZE WE NEED TO STICK TO OUR LOCALS AND INSPIRE THEM.

INSTEAD OF SAYING WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER WITH YOU HERE, WE WANTED TO DO SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT TO LONG ISLAND SO WE CAME UP WITHHOLD FAST CAMPAIGN WHICH SPEAKS TO THE MARITIME HERITAGE, A TALE ABOUT HOLDING FAST THROUGH THE STORM AND WHEN THE SUN BREAKS ON THE HORIZON WE'LL BE THERE TO WELCOME YOU BACK.

WE'RE MANY FIERCE COMMUNITIES LONG ISLAND HOLD FAST.

WHEN SUN BREAKS ON THE HORIZON OUR LIGHT HOUSE WILL GUIDE YOU IN WHERE YOU BELONG.

IT BECAME SO POPULAR IT WAS PLAYED BY THE ISLANDERS AND NAMES BY FORBES AS ONE OF THE TOP INSPIRATIONAL VIDEOS IN THE WORLD AT THIS TIME.

WE TOOK THAT AND DECIDED TO MAKE T-SHIRTS CAN YOU GET ON OUR WEBSITE.

WITH ALL OF THE PROCEEDS GOING BACK TO HELP EMPLOYEES OF THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR, SO MANY ARE IMPACTED, WITH THINGS CLOSED AND THEM NOT ABLE TO GO TO WORK.

SO WE'RE TRYING IN MANY WAYS TO DO WHATEVER WE CAN TO GIVE BACK AND SO PEOPLE ARE.

WE ARE SUPPORTING OUR LOCAL FAVORITE RESTAURANTS AND BARS ARE TRYING TO KEEP IT OPEN DURING THIS TIME.

OF COURSE THE HOPE IS BUSINESS WILL PICK UP WHEN LOCALS AND OUT OF TOWNERS ALIKE HIT THE BEACHES.

AS MEMORIAL DAY APPROACHES, THE TOWN'S SUPERVISOR IS WORKING WITH HIS TEAM AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES TO ENSURE THOSE WHO DO COME TO THE TOWN'S MANY BEACHES CAN DO SO SAFELY, WHICH IS NO SMALL FEAT.

THE TOWN IS THE LARGEST IN THE CANNOT WITH 800,000 RESIDENTS AND WE COVER FROM REALLY THE BORDER WITH QUEENS, ATLANTIC BEACH, ALL THE WAY THROUGH, WE DON'T -- CITY OF LONG BEACH IS SEPARATE.

WE HAVE LIDO BEACH WEST.

WE HAVE MALIBU.

WE HAVE POINT LOOK OUT.

IT'S ALMOST THEN THE IRE SHORE -- ENTIRE SHORELINE.

THEY'RE RECEIVING GUIDANCE FROM GOVERNOR CUOMO WHO RECENTLY ANNOUNCED A BLUE PRINT TO OPEN THE BEACHES.

NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, DELAWARE, CONNECTICUT, WILL ALL BE OPENING BEACHES FOR THE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND.

IT DOES NOT INCLUDE POOLS.

POOLS ARE CLOSED.

BUT NO MORE THAN 50% CAPACITY.

AND THAT WILL BE DONE AT PARKING AREAS, ENTRANCE AREAS, EXIT AREAS, ET CETERA.

NO GROUP CONTACT ACTIVITIES.

NO VOLLEYBALL.

NO FOOTBALL.

NOTHING LIKE THAT.

AREAS OF SOCIAL GATHERING WOULD BE CLOSED.

PICNIC AREAS.

ET CETERA.

PLAYGROUNDS.

ARCADES.

SOCIAL DISTANCING WILL BE ENFORCED FOR EMPLOYEES AND FOR VISITORS.

MASKS MUST BE WORN BY EMPLOYEES AND VISITORS MUST HAVE MASKS AND WEAR THEM WHEN THEY CAN'T SOCIALLY DISTANCE.

AT THIS POINT CONCESSIONS WILL NOT BE OPERATING.

WHAT WE'VE DONE IS FOLLOWING THE GOVERNOR'S DIRECTIVES WE'RE GOING TO LIMIT CAPACITY TO PARKING SPOTS.

SO EITHER WE'RE GOING TO ELIMINATE HALF OF THE PARKING SPOTS OR ALLOW PEOPLE TO DOUBLE UP SO WE CAN MANAGE THE CROWDS.

WE'VE COME UP WITH THE CONCEPT NOT ONLY HAVING LIFE GUARDS BUT WHAT WE ARE GOING TO CALL C CONCIERGE TO BE ON THE BEACH AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SIGNAGE AT EVERY ENTRANCE AND WE'LL GIVE OUT HAND OUTS AND OUR STAFFERS WEAR MASKS WITH DOWN EMBLEM AND WEAR GLOVES.

PEOPLE FOR THE MOST PART WANT TO WORK WITH US, GIVE PEOPLE SOME SORT OF OUTLET.

PEOPLE WANT TO GET OUT, AS THE WEATHER WARMS UP, MORE PEOPLE WILL FLOCK TO THE BEACHES.

THERE WILL BE HAND SANITIZER AT EVERY ENTRANCE AND FEW BATHROOMS ARE DONE TO BE MORE HANDS-FREE.

TO HELP OUT HE ASKS PEOPLE TO BE CONSIDERATE OF THEIR SURROUNDINGS.

IF EVERYBODY WASHES THEIR HANDS, 20 SECOND RULE, DOCTOR SAID THAT RULE IS SO IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE NEED TO REMEMBER TO WASH THEIR HANDS AND BE SANITARY AND BE RESPECTFUL OF YOUR NEIGHBORS. IF YOU HAVE A PAIR OF GLOVES DON'T JUST THROW THEM IN THE STREET, DROP THEM IN THE GARBAGE CAN, WEAR MASKS IN PUBLIC, BE RESPECTFUL.

IT'S NOT JUST YOU BUT PEOPLE AROUND YOU.

PEOPLE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, EVERY TIME YOU DON'T COMPLY WITH SOMEONE IT WILL EFFECT NOT JUST YOU BUT THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU.

HIS ATTENTION IS ON MAINTAINING THE HEALTH OF THE MOM AND POP SHOPS BECAUSE WHILE GOVERNOR'S MANDATE IS GOOD FOR PUBLIC SAFETY WILL MEAN BUSINESSES WILL REMAIN SHUT FOR NOW.

50% CAPACITY.

THERE'S QUESTIONS ABOUT CAB ANNA AND BEACH CLUB USES FOR THE LENGTH OF THE TOWN OF HELMSTEAD THERE'S THOUSANDS OF THOSE.

AND INDICATES THERE'S GOING TO BE CLOSE CONCESSIONS.

EVEN IF YOU HAVE 50% CAPACITY YOU'RE HIT RIGHT THERE BUT WITHOUT THE OTHER FACILITIES UTILIZED IT'S TREMENDOUS LOSS OF REVENUE.

SO HE'S LOOKING TO CUT RED AT THE POINT FOR BUSINESSES LOOKING TO BE CREATIVE TO STAY A FLOAT.

WHEN THE GOVERNOR ALLOWS FOR THE REOPENING OF RESTAURANTS WE'RE GOING TO ALLOW OUTDOOR SEATING.

WE'VE CREATED AN ONLINE PORTAL THAT RESTAURANT OWNERS CAN GO ONLINE AND SUBMIT THEIR PLANS AND GET APPROVAL OVER THE INTERNET TO RECEIVE PERMIT FOR TEMPORARY OUTDOOR SEATING.

BECAUSE WE ANTICIPATE THE GOVERNOR WILL LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE WHO COULD SIT INSIDE A RESTAURANT, AS LONG AS THEY COULD HAVE ADDITIONAL TABLES OUTSIDE OR IN THE BACK IN A SAFE LOCATION, WE'RE GOING TO DO IS THAT AND COST OF THE RESTAURANT IS NOTHING.

FRANKET .

P OWNER OF THE RESTAURANT IS ALREADY WORKING ON THE PLANS.

WE'RE WORKING ON PUTTING TABLES AND CHAIRS AND FENCING TO MAKE IT COMFORTABLE.

WE'RE GOING TO DO THE SIX FOOT APART SO WE'RE ONLY GOING TO BE ABLE TO OPEN 50% OF OUR DINING ROOM AND PROBABLY NOT HAVE PARTIES OF 40 TO 80 PEOPLE.

SO WE'RE GOING TO PROBABLY TAKE 20 TO 30 TABLES AND BRING THEM OUTSIDE.

FENCE IT IN.

DO SOME NICE LITTLE LIGHTING.

MAYBE DO SOME MUSE IB.

-- MUSIC.

WE HAVE TO TRY TO REINVENT OURSELVES.

EVERY DAY IDEAS ARE COMING IN.

EVEN WHETHER OPEN 50% WE'LL LOSE MONEY TO KEEP THE DOORS OPEN.

THEY ACKNOWLEDGE WHILE SOME LOCALS BE HESITANT TO HAVE VISITORS DESCEND ON LONG ISLAND BEACHES WITH COVID-19 A THREAT THEY SEE TOURISM A BOOST FOR THE LOCAL ECONOMY AS LONG AS IT IS DONE SAFELY.

WE NEED TO ENSURE BUSINESSES SURVIVE, TALKING ABOUT THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF JOBS, A LOT OF THEM COUNT ON THE REVENUE DURING THE SUMMER.

IT'S VERY, VERY IMPORTANT TO THE ECONOMIC FABRIC BUT IT IS VERY FRAGILE AND OFTEN TIMES TAKEN FOR GRANTED.

ONE OF THE THINGS WE'RE HEARING WHEN TOURISM IS GREAT AND ROBUST WE'LL HEAR FROM THE RESIDENTS WHO SAY WE DON'T WANT ANY MORE TOURISM OR THE VISITORS, THE TRAFFIC, YOU'RE TAKING UP OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT RESERVATION, WE CAN'T EVEN GET IN.

BUT PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE THE TRICKLE DOWN FUNNEL HOW IT IMPACTS THEIR OWN WALLET AND THEIR OWN HOUSEHOLD SO IMPORTANTLY.

AND SO I THINK PEOPLE ARE GOING TO REALIZE THAT THIS SUMMER AND MAYBE HAVE A RENEWED APPRECIATION FOR TOURISM AND WHAT IT MEANS TO THE ECONOMY.

IN LONG ISLAND, I'M MADDIE ORTON FOR 'METROFOCUS.'

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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