New York’s beach and tourism businesses try to woo locals


At Rockaway Jet Ski, owner Robert Kaskel says he understands why the past few weeks have brought him a constant flow of locals looking to escape the heat and dangers of the coronavirus.“You’re on a saltwater boat which I believe has antiseptic qualities, you have fresh air on your face,” Kaskel said, describing what it felt like to rent one of his jet skis. “Your fears of being with other people, you can just let that go. “

What would you like to know

  • Small businesses that depend on tourism revenues are adjusting to the realities of the pandemic
  • Some opt for a strategy to attract locals eager to go out and socialize
  • Business owners are worried about what will happen when summer ends and outdoor activities lose their appeal

But the temporary lockdown cost him a third of his season. The huge drop in fears related to tourism and transmission is still weighing on its results.“I have fewer activities than I perform because of COVID,” Kaskel said. “I try to keep fewer people on the docks and throughout the check-in process at all times. ”

These challenges are common among businesses that rely on visitors looking for a good time. It’s one of the reasons Bronx Beer Hall owner Anthony Ramirez is part of an effort to get more New Yorkers to frequent local attractions.

“These small businesses are the lifeblood of the community, and the community is the lifeblood of these small businesses,” said Ramirez, who had to lay off employees when the pandemic hit and then cut hours once restrictions were on. locking lifted.

Ramirez says people want to go out and know they’re safe. He made the Stay Well NYC pledge and now his businesses and those in Kaskel are among those promoted by NYC & Company, the city’s tourism promoter, as “stay-cation” options for locals.

He says it’s all about open streets and providing a clean and safe environment for customers and employees eager to socialize.

“We have seen a great influx, especially now, of people who are now leaving their forties, leaving their homes to come and support and sponsor all the businesses in the Bronx Little Italy,” Ramirez said.

Kaskel also has a restaurant. He looks forward to the help, but also wonders how long he and other business owners can stay afloat.

“After the summer is over I’m going to have the same tough time everyone has in going about their business until we have a cure or a vaccine or something to alleviate the problems of this. COVID disaster, ”Kaskel said.


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