The Santa Barbara Waterfront Department closed all of its parking lots except the Harbor Main and Stearns Wharf lots over Labor Day weekend from Friday through Monday.
Closing these lots resulted in the direct revenue loss of roughly $39,500 to the Waterfront Department, according to Mike Wiltshire, the waterfront director.
That number is based off of historical revenues for Labor Day weekend. Mr. Wiltshire told the News-Press it’s likely the limited parking impacted the Waterfront businesses as well, “but it’s a little tougher to quantify those types of losses.”
However, despite the loss, city officials stand by their decision to close the lots to help limit the influx of out of town visitors.
“Even with the closures, the waterfront and beaches were extremely busy,” Mr. Wiltshire said. “It’s a tough balance, but it can’t be ignored that we are still very much in the middle of a pandemic. This requires some tough decisions that inevitably impact the Waterfront community and its users.”
Mayor Cathy Murillo echoed the support for the closures.
“The city and county restricted access to the beaches over the holiday weekend to prevent overcrowding that might result in COVID-19 virus transmission,” she told the News-Press. “We are at a critical point in the pandemic trying to keep our numbers low in terms of new positive cases, as we want to fully open up commerce and schools.”
The city and county also closed the beaches and parking lots for the Fourth of July weekend.