PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - The City of Portsmouth is surveying downtown businesses about sales during weekend tunnel closures.
Economic development officials asked business owners if they have seen a change since the first weekend closure of the westbound lanes at the downtown tunnel.
"It's not scientific, but we're actually walking the streets, and talking and calling businesses, trying to get some feedback," said Portsmouth Mayor Kenny Wright.
So far, 93 business owners were interviewed by members of the economic development office.
Here is what they concluded:
- Some businesses reported a negative impact with revenues down as much as 30 percent
- Some were not affected because they don't depend on customers from other cities
- A handful reported they are not open on the weekends
Mayor Wright says the data will be more telling over time. For example, numbers from the first weekend were good because of the Seawall Arts Festival.
"Because we had that influx, we didn't see that much of an impact the first week downtown," said Mayor Wright. "And the second week we did see a drop."
Business owners have also voiced concerns about sales for the upcoming Christmas season.
The city has launched a proactive campaign, including commercials titled 'All Roads Lead to Portsmouth.'
"The West Downtown Tunnel will be closed most weekends through May, but it's easy to visit Portsmouth's fun-filled attractions, shops, restaurants and events," the commercial says.
So in the event businesses are forced to close, the reason will be well-documented.
All of the data will be released to the public at a later date.
There will be 25 closures on the westbound side and more than 40 on the eastbound side. Leila Rice with Elizabeth River Crossings told WAVY.com the westbound closings are scheduled to end in late Spring. The eastbound closures are scheduled to begin in June of 2014.
More information can be found here.
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