Created: May 23, 2020 10:21 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In previous years, Old Town would usually be packed with shoppers celebrating the unofficial start of summer during Memorial Day weekend. This year, however, many businesses were not able to take advantage of the holiday foot traffic.
"This should be crowded. There should be people out here shopping, and we should be moving forward. I'm kind of disappointed,” said Dennis Flubacher, a shopper.
Flubacher said he expected Saturday to be like any other Memorial Day weekend—with Old Town bustling.
Some business owners KOB 4 spoke with said they expected the weekend to be slow.
One employee said their projected revenue is 80% down for the weekend. She said they’ve withstood a lot in their 43 years of business, like recessions to 9/11, but it has been nothing compared to the blows they’ve taken from the pandemic.
Businesses also said tourism has also been down since the city locked up the public bathrooms near the plaza.
While businesses won’t bounce back to normal anytime soon, owners said they’re surviving with the help of loyal customers.
That’s why shoppers like Flubacher hope more people will safely support local.
"It makes me disappointed because New Mexico is a rural state,” he said. “W lot of small businesses, a lot of independent people and it's just really hurting our economy—hurting the people and the residents here."
KOB 4 reached out to the city regarding the decreased tourism during the holiday and a spokesperson sent the following statement:
“We know it's a challenging time for local businesses, especially those that count on tourism. That's why we are doing everything we can to make sure they get the assistance they need. We tend the landscaping regularly and redid the planters on the plaza this Spring.
“The restrooms are operated by a contractor who asked to close them after the first public health order from the State. With retail now allowed to operate at 25% we will be opening the restrooms next week.”
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