Pandemic Destroys California’s Avalon Island Economy

Avalon, California – When the doors to California’s “romance island” were basically closed to almost everyone last month, that may have saved the 4,000 residents from a coronavirus outbreak, but destroyed an economy based almost exclusively on The tourism.

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Lockdown orders for California isolated the tiny island of Santa Catalina from the virus that was rapidly spreading in the mainland. The city of Avalon, whose beauty has sold millions of postcards over the years, has been turned into a ghost town.

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Hotels are empty, riverside bars are closed, almost all restaurants are closed, and the divers, surfers, walkers, and others who would usually fill the island’s beaches and waters have disappeared.

The island attracts more than a million tourists a year, according to the Chamber of Commerce.

Cruises leave up to 2,000 people a week for short layovers, while the Santa Catalina Express ferry, now limited to a couple of trips a day for essential workers, usually transports thousands more each day from ports on the mainland, including many that overnight in hotels.

Mayor Ann Marshall estimates that the bay has lost nearly $ 2 million in the weeks that the port of Avalon has been closed.

“We are waiting for part of the ransom money to help us,” he said.

Avalon is part of Los Angeles County, which has a disproportionately high percentage of pandemic cases and deaths in California. The island has only two people who have tested positive and both recover at home.

Despite the devastating economic effect, Marshall says they don’t want to open the island too soon and risk a spike in infections.

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