Fourth of July weekend at the Oceanfront under the watchful eye of COVID-19

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — If it weren’t for nearly half a year of COVID-19, you would swear everything was normal at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.  

Of course, nothing is normal after waging war with this pandemic.  

Nonetheless, families are out and about — and they are at the Oceanfront. 

“The weekend is pretty much sold out; we are worrying about mid-week. We are doing better with occupancy than the top 25 metro areas. One of those reasons — we are a ‘driving destination’ and people don’t need to get on a plane to get to us,” said Russell Lyons, head of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association.

This brings us to the Blumke family who drove 28 hours to get to Virginia Beach. They were gathered as a family on the beach while social distancing of more than six feet from strangers around them.  

“We wear masks when we go into the gas station or a restaurant, but we didn’t wear them out here in the outer doors,” said the mother, Alex Blumke. 

When asked about the hotel stay she said, “They sanitize everything. There are no disposables left in the room where everything is kinda bare. No breakfast anymore because it’s all self-serve.” 

However, for the Blumke family, they are just glad to be here. Alex grew up here, but her children have never seen the ocean before.  

“I think it’s pretty cool. I’ve never seen the ocean before. It’s definitely different than I thought it would be. Back home, we live in the great plains so there are zero hills out there and it’s super flat,” said 15-year-old Tanner Blumke. 

We also found lots of cabanas along the beach which, when you think about it, tie in nicely with social distancing efforts.

“I like them. They have them all strategically placed about six feet apart. It’s great because you are in it, but you still have to make sure you are sanitized, and not touching it as much because some other people could use it right after you as well,” said beachgoer Brittany Newell from New York.  

Brian Duncan came from Sandston, Virginia and he says, “There’s a little bit of organization going on instead of just putting it [cabanas] where you want to. I feel like that would help at least a little bit.” 

Up on Atlantic Avenue, we found La La Land Sugar Candy Kingdom, and Kai Brooks inside. 

“Business right now is going pretty good. Sales are up. We opened last year, but we are doing pretty well, as you know.” 

We also found the Best family from Yorktown telling us how COVID-19 is impacting their stay.  

Joey Best told us, “They are requiring you to do the same thing wear the masks, but there’s a lot of people not doing it. When you are inside a building though, you should wear masks.” 

When it comes to the hotel stay, Destiny Sparling added, “We don’t get breakfast. There is a pool, but the hot tub is closed due to COVID-19. So, they’re taking the necessary precautions.” 

Some did not quite agree with the hours that restaurants are keeping.

“The hours are all messed up. Food places are open at 2 p.m. It’s noon, I’m trying to eat right now, but I can’t eat until 2 p.m., and what is that?” Zach Close added as he shrugged his shoulders.  

To sum up Virginia Beach, the youngest member of the Blumke family — who is no more than four years old — said about the 28-hour drive, “it was worth it because it’s fun here.”

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