TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – Between Saturday and Sunday, close to 25,400 cars made the trek to Tybee Island for the Memorial Day holiday.
For many, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. It is also the first major holiday since millions of people got the coronavirus vaccine.
Now that Gov. Brian Kemp has officially dropped all remaining COVID-19 restrictions, crowds are flocking to local recreation areas.
“We can only squeeze so many people on the island, and they are all here,” said Eric Liebtag, owner of Salt Island Fish and Beer.
Liebtag says he isn’t complaining. He says his restaurant brought in record-breaking profits this weekend.
“Since March, it’s been pretty crazy down here on the island,” said Liebtag.
He says even though things are starting to feel more normal, he and his staff are still playing it safe.
“We’re still operating the same protocols,” said Liebtag. “We are still wearing masks, and we still make sure we separate the tables as much as we possibly can.”
“I know it’s been lifted, but for us, it’s our new norm, so obviously as it gets hotter, we will probably start lifting some of those restrictions,” he added. “But right now, we are still operating business as usual.”
Closer to the beach, people were everywhere. Patrons were enjoying Tybee’s famous lighthouse and soaking up the sunshine.
Kathy Mangus, who’s visiting from Charlotte, says most people weren’t masked up, but being fully vaccinated eases most of her worries.
“It’s kind of nice seeing everybody moving around and having fun,” said Mangus. “It’s really great.”
While COVID-19 restrictions have officially been lifted, some visitors say more businesses require masks here than back home.
“You know in Savannah, a lot of the indoor places are wanting masks and Mississippi’s
very open right now,” said Joe Babb.
Most people WSAV News 3 talked to said they were vaccinated, minus Mangus’s son, Morrison. His mom says he’s getting his first shot next week.
“Are you excited or are you scared?” WSAV asked Morrison Mangus.
“Scared,” replied Morrison Mangus. “I don’t want to get the shot, but I’ll still get it.”
Businesses and city officials expect the next couple of months to be even busier. Tybee’s fireworks will return after a one-year COVID hiatus. If you want to catch the show it will fall on Sunday, July 4.