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As restrictions ease, Georgia beaches seeing record numbers

Tourism officials say COVID-19 decimated the industry in April and early May. But they are now reporting record numbers.

2020 was supposed to be a record-breaking year for the beaches along Georgia’s Golden Isles.

But then, COVID-19 happened.

“We estimate that most of April was a complete loss. About 90% down,” said Scott McQuade, President and CEO of the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau, during a conference call with other tourism leaders.

Seemingly overnight, hotels emptied, conventions were canceled, and tourists stayed home.

But over Memorial Day weekend, the beaches were packed.

“I was surprised how quickly things have come back,” McQuade said. “We really started reopening last weekend. The vast majority of resorts have reported being sold out. With more of them selling out this weekend." 

RELATED: On this Memorial Day, there's a new war with a faceless enemy: COVID-19

The desire to get out is a strong one for many families who have been cooped up in their homes for months.

So much so, that those record books are once again getting shattered.

“The resorts are reporting that the bookings are at an all-time record high. Unlike anything hoteliers have ever seen,” said McQuade.

The need for sun and sand is also causing a lot of outrage.

Video of a crowded pool at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri quickly went viral, with many people calling it unsafe.

RELATED: Viral Lake of the Ozarks photos prompt St. Louis County to issue travel advisory

Meanwhile, Walt Disney World announced Wednesday it plans to reopen on July 11.

And Six Flags Over Georgia has released its guidelines to reopen and is awaiting approval.

“We look forward to entertaining guests as soon as we can, safely. With the health of our guests and team members as our number one priority,” said Dale Kaetzel, Park President, Six Flags Atlanta Properties.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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