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Spring break on the Crystal Coast boosts struggling beach businesses

Rucker John’s manager said beach season and vaccination rates should help to make up for lost ground during pandemic.
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 7:14 PM EDT
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EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WITN) - It’s spring break on the Crystal Coast, and the first stretch of beach weather since vaccinations started rolling out is bringing some hope back for beach business owners.

“People are very obviously ready to get out, go to restaurants, the weather’s perfect,” said Rucker Johns Business Manager Julian Johns. “We’re going to stick to these principles that we’ve been doing for the past year. It’s become routine for us because it’s something that people know and they expect.”

Restaurants in the state can open at 75% capacity indoors and 100% capacity outdoors.

But Rucker Johns will continue to operate at 50% capacity, Johns said, because it’s what will keep his customers comfortable.

“We want our customers to feel safe when they come in the restaurant,” Johns said. “We want them to feel like it’s not the wild west here.”

Even as more and more people become fully vaccinated. About 1.9 million people have received both doses of the vaccine in the state, including Noelle Ricks, who got her vaccine yesterday and went right to the shore.

“It’s just nice to see people out again and families reuniting,” said Ricks. “It just feels normal, and that feels really great.”

Really great for Johns, too, who is still trying to figure out how to toe the line between safe and profitable.

“We’re going to air on the side of caution,” said Johns. “Because, again, making people feel safe, making people feel welcome. That’s not going to turn away any business.”

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