GUERNEVILLE (KPIX) — For business owners in downtown Guerneville, this weekend should be the kickoff to the summer tourist season. This year, that’s something a lot of locals are not interested in.
“We want people to come, I mean I do, I want people to come,” said Michael Volpatt, who owns Big Bottom Market. “But I want them to be responsible and safe about it — and please don’t go to my Safeway and clear everything out.”
Still, tourism is a key source of revenue for local businesses, as Crista Luedtke owner of Boon Eat + Drink pointed out.
“I think some of the community not being in favor of tourism is a tricky one. At the same time, I think we have to do it for this community to survive — for us business owners to survive,” she said.
Other business owners suggested guidelines for anyone who does decide to travel here from beyond the immediate area.
“If you’re going to come — because we know you’re going to come — please behave … to keep us and our community members safe,” Volpatt said.
For example, wear a mask and don’t clear out grocery store aisles — something we’ve seen in other Northern California tourist destinations.
“If you’re going to come here, bring your own food — people are challenged enough by going to the grocery store. It makes them nervous and concerned,” Volpatt said.
There were plenty of people in town Saturday. The river was busy and parking spilled out of Armstrong Redwoods onto nearby roadways. So, with new freedom in Phase 2, local businesses are trying to take advantage of that traffic.
“How many people is too many people? I really don’t know the answer to that question. I mean, I count by (social-distancing) circles, that’s what I do,” Volpatt said.