Last year we had the Summer of the Shark, this year we are battling the coronavirus and the various restrictions put in place to slow the spread. According to, with beaches from Newport to Portland closed down this summer might put some businesses under for good.

Peak summer tourism season is just weeks away and businesses are usually in preparation mode for the tourism traffic, but many businesses are closed due to stay at home orders. How do they gear up in time for the influx of tourists that may not come? If the shutdown order is gradually lifted and resorts are allowed to open, many may choose to opt for a New England beach town instead of a cruise or international travel feeling it is safer. That is all a big “what if” now because there is no way of knowing when the shutdown orders will be lifted and what people may be thinking.

What if the shutdown in Maine is lifted and the shutdown continues in Massachusetts? Does that mean that Maine will be overrun with tourists? There are so many unknown factors. Rhode Island’s Governor Gina Raimondo has said “strict restrictions” and “the size of crowds and our ability to congregate” will be in effect even with a reopening of the beaches.

Even if there is a lifting of restrictions and beaches will be open for business, the question will be who will be working there. Traditionally, many hotels, restaurants, fisheries rely on international seasonal workers. Getting an H-2B visa is going to be tough to get as the Department of Homeland Security announced that additional visas were “on hold pending review” per Any way you look at it, this year’s beach season is going to be a tough storm for New England to ride out.


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