Island Businesses Get Back To Normal During Wet & Windy Memorial Day Weekend

Despite rain and wind that canceled some boats and put a damper on outdoor dining, Nantucket’s businesses celebrated the lifting of all remaining COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday as crowds swarmed the island for Memorial Day Weekend. With no more capacity limits or indoor mask requirements, the island’s bars and restaurants returned, at long last, to normal. There was a line to get in the Chicken Box. The Cisco brewery was packed to the gills. Mudslides flowed at the Gazebo, and the dance floor was full at the Rose and Crown. We checked in with a handful of island businesses yesterday to see how the weekend unfolded:

Alan Cunha, Le Languedoc: “Guests have been delighted to have things back to fairly normal and are in great spirits. We had a pretty strong weekend considering the weather. So, although we had a busy weekend, nothing out of the ordinary happened. It was about 50/50 in regards to mask wearing (including guests and floor staff.) I think everyone is just happy that things are beginning to feel that everything will be okay again.”

Stephanie Correia, Stephanie’s Nantucket: “Masking has been respectful and a positive experience- my view on the whole thing is, it’s a personal preference. I am absolutely not requiring them as I am vaccinated and that was the “deal”. The weather is so unfortunate, but most people know how we roll here and they accept the gamble with the weather this time of year.  Generally people are just so HAPPY to be having fun and having their freedom back!  It’s been a fantastic weekend!”

Debba Pitcock, Rose & Crown: “It’s been good. It was a little slower than I expected but I think the combination of the weather and boats not going contributed to that. It’s a young crowd. A lot of them turned 21 during the pandemic so it is a first for some being in a club atmosphere. For the most part people are really happy to be here and they’ve been well behaved. We’ve had some issues with supply chains and getting things but I ordered really heavy so that I would be ok on stock going forward. It definitely feels a little weird to be without masks and have a full building. But overall it’s been a very successful weekend so far even with the boat cancellations and the weather.”

Miranda Dale, Nantucket Historical Association: “It’s exceeded my expectations. The largest attendance last year was about 200, and we had 600 people yesterday. It’s the most since 2019, definitely. We all know and have heard the buzz in the news that it’s going to be a busy summer, and with the weather this weekend, we definitely saw that. Even though boats were cancelled, we had a packed house. Best thing to do in town on a rainy day.

Coming from our president, we are now recommending everyone wear masks but we are not requiring masks. I would say it’s about 75/25, with 75 percent of people still wearing them consistently. We kept timed ticket entry so we only allow 50 people within every half-hour time slot, and I’m very happy we kept that, because it would feel way too overwhelming without that.”

Susan Fairgrieve, ACK 4170: “The weekend has actually exceeded my expectations as far as foot traffic in town due to the weather. Sales were very good! Being a store owner of a previous location in a less traffic area, Federal Street has proven overall to be a busier street than Easy Street. People on Friday did not want to wear a mask because it was so close to the day of removing our masks. But yesterday everyone was in a great mood and so happy to be out and about, and smiling! The weather did not really damper peoples spirits! Visitors were disappointed about the weather but it did not stop them from having fun in their happy place!”

Jenny Benzie, Epernay Wine & Spirits: “Despite the rain and wind this weekend, we exceeded our expectations at Épernay Wine & Spirits.  Friday was a steady stream of customers, where we usually see ebbs and flows based on the boat schedule.  We did a tremendous amount of deliveries all over the island on Saturday, as people were choosing to stay indoors.  Our customers are thrilled to be able to shop in-store with us again, and also know they can always shop online or continue curbside service if they prefer.  Overall, we were very pleased with what could have been considered a weekend of unknowns going into it.”

Packy Norton, The Chicken Box: “Everyone was super excited to be back and people were behaved for the most part. It’s great to be up and running again. Going to put last year in the rear view and get the music schedule up in the next week or so.”

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