LAKE GEORGE — The nice weather brought people out to Lake George for the Independence Day weekend, although the crowd was lighter because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gino Chiaravelle, owner of Giuseppe’s Pizzeria and Restaurant on Canada Street, said his business was excellent, which he attributed to cabin fever.
“They’re just getting out, enjoying themselves,” he said.
Everyone has been very respectful of wearing masks, according to Chiaravelle. He said he hoped for a good season and anticipated that most of the visitors would be from within driving distance, as other vacation options are limited.
“They can’t go to Disney. Why not go to a beautiful lake?” he said.
People were looking to get close to the lake, as by early Saturday afternoon Million Dollar Beach had reached the 500-person capacity limit. There was a line of people waiting to get in as other people exited.
For people who did not want to get a tan, there were fewer options than in previous years.
Visitors such as Kaleigh Strout lamented that there were not as many things to do. She, her husband, cousin and four children were visiting from Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The arcades and rides are closed, as are many shops.
Lexi Sweenor, an employee at the Live, Love, Laugh gift shop, reported seeing a steady stream of customers, but it was not as busy as a typical summer day.
Sweenor said the shop has implemented sanitation procedures, including wiping down frequently touched surfaces such as countertops, the credit card machine and pens.
She said she also believes that Lake George will see more local visitors this year. Some people are nervous and do not want to travel great distances.
Katie Bergeron, also of Massachusetts, said her family has been camping and they like to come to Lake George because of its family-friendly atmosphere.
Jennifer Stearns, who was visiting from Long Island, said it has been a different experience because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no daily housekeeping at her hotel, likely to cut down interactions with guests. Also, eat-in dining options are limited.
The family got to go tubing, and she said she is grateful to get out of the house.
“It was rough quarantining with three teenagers. I was a teacher for them — not by trade,” she said.
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