Memorial Day Weekend brings surge in business for downtown restaurants, bars

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – In the first major holiday weekend since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted their mask mandate for folks who are fully vaccinated, people are certainly taking advantage.

“We have been crazy busy, slammed,” said John McCann, manager at Bernie’s Oyster House on River Street. “As you can see all around me there are all kinds of people. We have been pretty understaffed just like a lot of other places all around town, all over the state of Georgia, but we’ve been doing our best to keep up.”

McCann knows from experience that the crowds will only grow as the holiday weekend progresses.

“I would say yesterday was pretty slow with people still coming into town but it’s getting there. Today we’ve already served hundreds of people and we’ll serve hundreds more. Sunday will be in the thousands for sure, Monday as well. Thousands, definitely,” McCann added.

The Plant Riverside district, a collection of 15 bars and restaurants located on River Street at the JW Marriott, has prepared accordingly for the weekend ahead.

“We’ve been very busy, not only at Electric Moon sky top lounge but the hotel has been extremely busy and we’ve had a lot of people right here on the riverwalk,” said Tyler Gray, Entertainment and Activity’s Director for the Plant Riverside District.

Plant Riverside will be holding Memorial Day events throughout the weekend, including live music and entertainment for the entire family.

“We are extremely busy this weekend but we have a great time planned for this amazing celebration. We want to give back to our community so we have free live music, a free circus show at Martin Luther King jr. park, and a bunch of other activities planned,” said Gray.

Just weeks ago, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill allowing alcoholic drinks to be served to-go on a permanent basis. Though this may not be new for downtown Savannah, it’s certainly still adding to the influx of business felt by all this weekend.

“It’s like Vegas, it’s like New Orleans, and that definitely helps with how busy it is. You can get a drink to-go, come right outside and enjoy the the view of the river and move on to your next location,” said McCann.

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