“We want you to stay and contribute to the economy, spend the dollars and help families recover and businesses get through this unprecedented crisis,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
The goal is to keep people from the city in their summer homes, rented houses, or hotels long after Labor Day.
“We’re sold out every weekend since day one,” said Michael Pitsinos, owner of Capri Southampton Hotel & NAIA Hamptons. “And I think we’re sold out in September and October also.”
Tourism on Long Island is a $6.1 billion industry and supports more than 100,000 residents. It’s been the hardest-hit industry because of COVID so experts say double and triple the number of people normally living on the East End bodes well for the economy.
And many businesses are benefitting. Those that would typically close or reduce their hours after Labor Day are staying open longer this year to serve the tourism industry.
“This year everything’s different in 2020,” said Kristen Jarnagin, president, and CEO of Discover Long Island. “We’re happy to have the business and we’re happy to be reviving the economy at a time when we need it.”
But not everyone believes busier is better. Year-round residents are concerned about rising enrollment in the surrounding school districts as well as overcrowding.
“Since March we haven’t gotten groceries, we’re just not set up, everyone wonders about the school and everything else,” said one woman.
“It’s more attitude, more entitlement and more people,” said another.