Oceanfront businesses welcome Memorial Day crowds on first holiday since COVID-19 restrictions lifted

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Posted at 5:09 PM, May 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-31 17:17:29-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.— Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off to tourist season at the Oceanfront and businesses are happy to see the crowds.

From the bike riders to the beach bums, people are flocking to the Oceanfront to enjoy a beautiful day outside after a dreary and rainy weekend.

“It’s a lot of fun because a lot of events were canceled last year and now that we can start going back outside we can start doing that,” said Julian Duque.

The first holiday in Hampton Roads without social distancing requirements and mask mandates in more than a year is a blessing to locals and tourists alike.

Virginia Beach police say they’re preparing for the crowds by increasing their presence at the oceanfront as well as on the waterways.

“It definitely feels like everybody is more willing to be around each other than they were before. Everybody seems a little bit brighter, more spirits are uplifted— it’s nice,” said Shayne Crivaro.

The busy day was a welcomed sight for restaurants like Harvest who are ready to hit the ground running for tourist season.

“It’s nice to know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I feel like we’re finally getting over the whole COVID thing, and restrictions have lifted, and it just seems like it’s going in the right direction,” said Harvest owner Michael Mauch.

The line out the door of the Sweet Spot remained steady mid-afternoon and inside staff said they were slammed.

It was the same situation at Harvest where there was a 40-minute wait for food to come out of the kitchen at one point during the day.

The restaurant staffing shortage is being felt around the country and certainly at the Oceanfront

Mauch says Harvest is hiring for positions starting at $11 per hour and they need the help but are making due in the meantime.

Until the help comes, businesses like Harvest are happy to take on the challenge of serving the crowds they’ve missed during the pandemic.