Virginia Beach businesses ready to kick off tourism season after COVID restrictions lift

Waterman's Surfside Grille
Posted at 10:14 PM, May 29, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va - Now that Governor Northam has lifted capacity and social distancing restrictions, business owners and managers in Virginia Beach say this comes at the right time, just in time before summer tourism season arrives.

"We shut down at were doing to-go’s for a year and a half since the COVID started. We’re finally at no masks and we’re fully operational and I’m sure every restaurant in Virginia is happy that we’re back to a hundred percent," Stephen Michaels said.

Stephen Michaels, the owner of Buoy 44 Seafood Grill says his restaurant will be open for longer hours since Governor Northam has lifted all capacity and social distancing restrictions.

"People can stand at the bar now. We have tables close together now. We can use all our tables on the deck now, where we had to be six feet apart before. We have twenty tables out there now, where we only had twelve before," Michaels said.

The general manager of Waterman’s Surfside Grille says its been a long year in pandemic and businesses are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"We get to be full again so we won’t have to seat every other table so on days like this when we can’t seat outside because of the rain, it really helps because we get to keep the inside and covered areas full," Emerson said.

This weekend is the first time in over a year that both restaurants are operating at a hundred percent capacity. They say with restrictions being lifted and this weekend being a holiday, they expect a busy weekend.

"This is perfect timing. It's Memorial Day weekend. It’s a kickoff to the summer. The weather is not perfect but we’re allowed to be wide open and we’re happy," Emerson said.

Hotels have taken a big hit during the pandemic. The general manager of Surestay Studio by Best Western says the hotel is sold out this holiday weekend.

"Business has been picking up and it’s really good to see people out traveling again," Wayne Skarupa said, the general manager of Surestay Studio by Best Western.

Skarupa says the hotel can now have more amenities open.

"It allowed us to open back up the pool. With the social distancing, the pool was closed and now it’s open. Capacity has picked up. We’re sold out this past weekend and this weekend."