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After putting hospitality on hold, N.B. tourism town rolls out the welcome mat
ST. ANDREWS, N.B. -- About two months after asking visitors to stay away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a popular tourism town in southern New Brunswick is rolling out the welcome mat once again.
St. Andrews is back open for business and moving ahead with a plan to help businesses accommodate more customers as the town welcomes tourists to the area once again.
Among the changes in the town is the elimination of parking on three blocks of the downtown to allow for one-way traffic.
“That would allow businesses on three blocks of Water Street to encroach on public property in front of their businesses,” explained St. Andrews Mayor Doug Naish. “This is really an attempt to kick start our business.”
The pilot project will start on June 26 and run until Sept. 8.
Business owners like Cindy Ruest, who manages the Kennedy Inn, are welcoming the changes.
“That will allow us to have about 12 more seats available for guests,” said Ruest. “I think it will actually make it more of a resort town feel, as well.”
While business owners are eager to welcome back visitors -- and customers -- they admit it’s also nerve-racking as they try to navigate a new way of doing business during a pandemic.
“We’re a small community, small store spaces. We need places for people to go,” said Kevin Simmons. “It’s hard to do business when you’re only allowed to let three to six people in your door.”
“We’re all in a new frontier. There is no reference point,” said Bill Conley. “There’s nothing in our past that we can look back at and use as a reference to say, ‘OK, we’ve been there before,’ because we haven’t.”
St. Andrews typically sees between 120,000 and 140,000 visitors during a typical tourism season.