RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Labor Day usually marks the end of the summer season, but this year, summer was cut short by COVID-19.
Now, there’s a push to recoup tourism losses with an invitation for a Long Island “staycation” and extended beach, park and pool days ahead.
Get ready for more sun and surf. Lifeguards are stoked for extra hours and pay as most state, county and town beaches, swimming pools and parks will now be open for business through September on Long Island.
“No one’s having the financial success they’re accustomed to having. Everyone’s grateful to just be open,” beach vendor Eilias Trahanas told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
At Robert Moses State Park, vendors selling clothing, fishing gear, pretzels, chicken and gelato lost so much for so long.
Businesses and attractions that make up Long Island’s $6 billion seasonal tourism industry have been crippled.
“We were cut short by two months by not starting when we typically do, around Memorial Day, so we are extending it,” said Kristen Jarnagin, CEO of Discover Long Island.
Even on Fire Island, hotels and restaurants will be open through Thanksgiving.
“Now with many students having remote learning, there’s going to be a greater opportunity for people to rent homes and have long-term stays in hotels as well,” said Laura Mercogliano, general manager of the Palms Hotel on Fire Island.
Many campgrounds will be open through October, golf courses don’t have a stop date yet, hiking trails are great for autumn treks, and museums are now welcoming families.
“It’s really important that we take the positives that we have and milk them for all they’re worth,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.
Dr. Michele Reed, Long Island’s health and wellness ambassador, says everyone is still expected to wear a mask.
“Please come out and explore this lovely island, but the main thing is you need to be safe,” she said.
Social distancing and mask protocols will be in place throughout the fall.
“The waters around Long Island, which are about 70, low 70s right now, so the water is beautiful. The air temperature usually cooperates in September, about 80,” said New York State Parks spokesman George Gorman.
They’re preaching “staycation” — take advantage of what’s just around the corner and boost the local economy.
Beach restaurants and bars, meanwhile, say they hope to remain open with outdoor seating for another two months or so, as long as the weather cooperates.
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