2020 was a rough year for Pensacola Beach, I don't say this lightly. Our little beach town, which usually thrives during the summer, is populated with small business owners who work tirelessly for 9 months just to get employees, leases and mortgages paid. And when the pandemic hit, the beach closed. Hotels stopped getting rentals. Art and wedding shows stopped. Everyone hoped just to break even this year.
Then, during Memorial Day, we reopened. And for two weeks everything seemed OK. But folks didn't wear masks, and a second outbreak happened. Businesses were forced run at 50% capacity, use masks and social distancing. Many bars couldn't open because they didn't serve food. Those who did, needed to be sure that food was 51% of sales, or be forced to close until cleared by the government. Still, few tourists who rented properties wore any protection, and a third outbreak occurred. My wife and I hunkered down again.
And then, Labor Day happened. People from all over the South came out for one last time, draped in American flags. They drank beer, left plastic toys on our beach and spread a few more cases of Covid for one last weekend following the holiday. While our inventory of plastic toys grew, so did the number of sick people in Escambia County.
And then, Hurricane Sally happened. People who only thought we'd get tropical storm type winds, failed to see the storm stalled and started jogging east. They were caught off guard when the floods and winds swept through our town. Many sunken boats are still leaking gas and oil. We lost part of our bridge system because barges were poorly moored, broke loose and shredded sections of our main artery out of Gulf Breeze.
Small businesses now have no way to make up the loss in their businesses. They will go in the hole this year if they don't have insurance. I certainly worry for my friend, Seamas Hunt, who runs Paddy O'Leary's down the street from my house. Seamas is a wonderful man, with a great family and choses to work here and keep people employed here. He's been flooded by Hurricanes before. Still, with all of these issues, I worry that he'll need to borrow money to stay afloat until next year.
Writing this blog isn't meant to make you feel depressed. It's meant to inspire you. You see, Pensacola Beach is our island. It's our home. And no matter how bad it gets, we'll pull together, share our resources and lift one another up.
After all, I did write an entire CD while all this was going on. Right? And while, I can't sell any copies at Paddy O'Leary's right now, I can still make you an offer on line. So, why not get your copy of Bait & Switch today, and help support my wife and me if you can?