While Santa Barbara County bars will be closed over the Fourth of July weekend, local restaurants are preparing for an influx of out-of-town guests.
Visitors from all over the state and across the country have been vacationing in Santa Barbara since the city pulled back the COVD-19-related restaurant closures in late May on guidance from the county Public Health Department.
On Monday, Los Angeles County closed its beaches for the holiday weekend. Business owners speculate the closures amplify the out-of-town traffic.
On Tuesday morning, Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo said she received messages from the public urging her to follow suit.
“We are getting a lot of emails and phone calls from people who want us to close the beaches,” Ms. Murillo said. “Any kind of beach closure would have to include city beaches and county beaches. I am also watching Ventura County to see what they are doing,”
She added that the city of Santa Barbara canceled its annual Fourth of July fireworks show and is discouraging locals and visitors from gathering in large groups at the beach.
“We will have city crews out there patrolling. These workers include park rangers, lifeguards, and firefighters to tell people to keep their social distance on the beach,” Ms. Murillo said.
Mesa Burger general manager Pixie Saavedra said the Fourth of July usually isn’t one of the restaurant’s biggest weekends, but her staff is ready for anything.
“Usually people are going to the beach to get a good spot for the fireworks. That’s canceled this year, so we don’t really know what to expect,” Ms. Saavedra said. Mesa Burger is located at 315 Meigs Road.
The Cruisery manager Justin Fitzgerald said weekends are usually full of guests visiting from other areas.
“For us, we’ve been really busy post-quarantine, especially on the weekends. I would say about 70 percent seem to be out-of-town visiting for the weekend. The locals we’ll see more on the weekdays. There’s definitely a heavy out-of-town presence,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.
“I’m not sure if people will be swarming to the beaches because they don’t need to get a spot for the (fireworks) show,” he said. “There might be a bigger impact on State Street, especially now that we’ve turned it into the temporary promenade. Obviously, this is an unprecedented time for everyone and I have no idea how to gauge it.”
Mr. Fitzgerald and his staff are diligently wearing masks and cleaning surfaces in the The Cruisery, located at 501 State St.
“We’ve been very strict about enforcing the mask policy. If you don’t have a mask, you’re not allowed in, and you must have a mask if you get up from your table,” Mr. Fitzgerald said. “We’re taking all the rules very seriously. My request is that anyone coming up from out of the area take those same precautions. I also think that people are enforcing that throughout our community, and I think that is the biggest step.”
The Cruisery is running on a smaller staff than usual because some employees haven’t been able to return to work or moved out of the area. Mr. Fitzgerald said he is making sure the business does not overextend itself and noted patrons have been understanding about the situation.
Esau’s Cafe owner Arti Stanley said the Fourth of July is one of the biggest weekends of the year for Carpinteria businesses. Esau’s Cafe is located at 507 Linden Ave.
Ms. Stanley said the city of Carpinteria allowed her to set up 10 outdoor tables to compensate for the indoor seating she lost because of social distancing guidelines.
“We’re taking this one day at a time,” Ms. Stanley said.
“The L.A. beaches are closed, but we don’t know how that’s going to affect us. But we’re ready for a busy weekend,” she said
Garden Market deli owner Tamara De Matteo said the Fourth of July is usually a busy weekend and she has an outdoor patio to provide social distancing for guests. The Garden Market is located on Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria.
“Because we’re so close to the beach, we get people from all over,” Ms. De Matteo said. “We’re fortunate because we can do 50/50 between indoor seating and the patio,”