Pinellas County business owners hope to see busy, safe Labor Day weekend

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PINELLAS CO., Fla. (WFLA) – One of the state’s biggest industries is hoping for a big boost this holiday weekend; tourism. State and local leaders are looking within to boost what has been a rough year for the service industry.

The governor even asked if you’re taking a weekend trip this Labor Day do it within the state of Florida.

The coronavirus pandemic shut things down right before Memorial Day hurting hotels, restaurants, shops, and other businesses along our famous beaches. Many places were closed for months.

Then the re-opening happened, but at the Paradise Grille at Pass-A-Grille Beach managers tell 8 On Your Side the 4th of July weekend wasn’t much better. Now the weekends are getting busier.

Safety against COVID-19 is still the number one priority for businesses even as they plan to bring people out Labor Day weekend with a live band.

“We do have to pay attention as far as with live music,” said Stacy Boerker, a manager at the Paradise Grille. “People not congregating in the big crowds and trying to keep control of what goes on over the patio. It’s not too challenging. People are pretty much respecting the rules.”

Tourists are slowly starting to come back, but it’s mostly locals who are filling the beaches. After shutting down for a couple of months earlier in the year business owners say this weekend has to be big.

“I think it has to be,” Boerker said. “It’s been really slow lately so I think we really need this weekend. All these businesses are just trying to recover and I think that’s going to be part of helping us recover from being shut down and the loss of the tourism.”

Sheriff’s deputies are out on the weekends at the beaches making sure that people are following social distancing. If you’re indoors you’re still required to wear a mask.

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