Hotels see boost during warm weather even as tourists asked to stay away

Posted at 5:52 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 00:08:50-04

San Luis Obispo County Health officials say they're asking anyone who lives out of the county to stay away.

Still, we're seeing a surge of visitors hitting our local beaches.

The SeaVenture Beach Hotel tells KSBY this past weekend was the busiest it's been in weeks. Despite this, the City of Pismo Beach says zero citations for social distancing violations were issued.

"The hotel was probably busier than it has been in the last six weeks," said Mark Eads, SeaVenture General Manager.

SeaVenture was at 60% occupancy all weekend with many guests from our own backyard.

"The majority of our guests were from North County," Eads said. "Paso Robles, Atascadero, and we also had a lot of guests from Santa Maria."

Inside the hotel doors, extra precautions are being taken.

"If we can let the rooms rest for about 24 hours we'll do that. We also have some ozone machines that will help clear the air that are supposed to kill viruses and we use
that in all the rooms as well," Eads explained.

Each room also has a letter, reminding guests to practice social distancing and limit beach time to just one hour.

"You could tell just the electricity in the air with the guests that were here and the people around town. They were happy to be out," Eads said.

The City of Pismo Beach wants to remind guests however, that travel should be limited to essential business only.

"So we're not encouraging folks to come but once you are here in Pismo Beach we want to make sure we're protecting our residents and we're maintaining social distance," said Jorge Garcia, City of Pismo Beach Management Services Director.

There's no doubt that the tourism industry is hurting.

According to Visit SLO CAL, in March of 2019, hotel occupancy was nearly 65% across San Luis Obispo County. In March of this year, occupancy was nearly 35%. The last two weeks have averaged less than 15% occupancy.

Elsewhere, in Southern California, some said the beaches looked like it was a holiday weekend.

Back here at home, while there were zero citations in Avila Beach, Harbor Patrol and lifeguards made 673 contacts. At the Dog Beach and Fisherman's Beach that number was 259.

"As long as people are social distancing we don't plan on closing the beach," Garcia said.

According to Visit SLO CAL, travel spending in California last week was down 90% year over year which equates to a loss of 2.7 billion statewide.