Local businesses saw smaller crowds over Memorial Day weekend


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) —The Port of Rochester Marina was full for memorial day weekend, but the effects of COVID-19 are still noticeable with some key places of business in this area closed and others struggling to survive on limited capacity and small crowds. 

Seasonal slips are booked for the Port of Rochester Marina, but the start of boating season is looking different than past years, hurting local business in the area who depend on the crowds. 

The Port of Rochester Marina is losing some business it would normally see through transient or traveling boaters, as The State Canal system has suspended all non-essential travel, making memorial day weekend look at little different. 

“Usually this time, in previous years we’re hosting some big beautiful yachts that are passing through, but we have seen a huge down turn in that just because they haven’t been able to navigate through the canal system,” Marianne Warfle, general manager port of Rochester Marina said.

Restaurants in and around the port have also closed their doors and without the crowds, the marina has kept both the lounge and gift shop closed — another blow to the marina’s wallet.

“We just have found it just not worth while in opening it yet until we actually get some better foot traffic down here when the restaurants start opening up,” Warfle said.

Entertainment venues are taking a hit too, Parkside Whispering Pines, a mini golf course in Irondequoit was opened this weekend, but employees say the crowds weren’t even close to previous years.

And with places like Sea Breeze and some beaches closed, restaurants near the water like Seabreeze Lake View Hots aren’t seeing the memorial days crowds they rely on.

Owners say they use the summer income to build a cushion for harder winter months, and might not make it through this winter. 

“We were hopefully for today but without the dine in, really hurts,” Kelly Meary, owner of the restaurant said.

“No swimming over at the beach which a lot of what we get our beach goers, sea breeze goers, boaters. A lot of people are scared to come out, they’re scared to come down here,” Manager Brittany Vanorden said. “So we’re getting by but who knows how long that will last.”

Business are hoping that reopening more business will bring out the crowds they need and they have safety measures in place to protect the people who come in.

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