As Labor Day arrives, Myrtle Beach business owners reflect on difficult tourist season

As Labor Day arrives, Myrtle Beach business owners reflect on difficult tourist season

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Labor Day weekend has arrived.

It’s the unofficial end to the tourist season in Myrtle Beach, which business owners said was one of the most difficult in recent memory due to the financial struggles the COVID-19 pandemic caused.

“This tourist season has been very rough for everybody around,” Victor Shamah, owner of The Bowery, said. “It’s at least down over 50 to 60% of what our normal business would be.”

Other businesses like the Gay Dolphin were hit hard as well. Owner Buz Plyler said this tourist season was like a roller coaster.

We started out down for a couple of days, then we shot up to where we were 15% up and remained there until the state announced it was a hotspot,” Plyler said. “And that cut our business in half.”

Plyler said they recovered for a bit after that, but then took another hit from Hurricane Isaias.

The SkyWheel also took a hit as it had to close for 10 weeks. However, the company was still able to pay its employees during that time.

They also used that 10 weeks to prepare for reopening.

“We did use that time wisely to ensure that when we were able to reopen, we were able to do so safely and effectively,” Sean Bailey, marketing assistant with the SkyWheel, said.

Looking ahead, business owners are hoping for a strong offseason.

“I’m hoping that since so many people are going to school virtually that people can vacation in times they didn’t before.” Plyler said. “The weather is great for us if we don’t have a hurricane. We may get our best fall. That’s what I’m hoping, hoping we can make up some ground.”

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