BAR HARBOR – Empty sidewalks and streets. That’s typically not what you see on Memorial Day, the kickoff to the summer season in town.
“It’s sad, very sad,” said Susan Saunders, owner of Jeanie’s Great Maine Breakfast. “There is no one in town.”
Life-long local resident Hannah Chamberlain said this year is “definitely different.”
“Crowds start coming a little sooner than this but this is like the big first weekend we have,” the teen said of Memorial Day weekend.
“Driving through town, normally there is like a million cars and there’s like very few as you can see,” she added.
Suzie Gleason, who has worked at Patrick’s By the Sea for a decade, said she’s remaining optimistic.
“It’s been very quiet, to say the least,” she said. “Hopefully, it picks up a little bit.”
Businesses are open with state restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“Right now, we can only seat 12 out of our 28 tables,” said Bethany Harris, a bartender and waitress at Geddy’s.
Sales were down compared to a year ago.
“I think we did 30 percent of the projections based on last year,” Harris said. “It was much slower. People were happy to be out and the weather was nice so we were lucky to get what we did get.”
This year, there are closed up shops in locations downtown.
“I’ve heard of a bunch of businesses already closing,” said Chamberlain. “You can’t attract too many people without hotels and rentals.”
Others worried about the lack of cruise ships or visitors from away.
“It’s going to be difficult with the 14-day quarantine to get the tourist to come back into town,” Saunders said. “So we’re really relying on the Maine support this year so come see us.”
One couple from The County did just that. They grabbed their dog and drove down on Sunday.
“We just wanted to get out of Aroostook County for a little bit,” said Mark Shea, a resident of Caribou.
He and his wife, Megan, are camping out and hiking and biking all over the island and Acadia National Park. They said they like the solitude.
“We already walked the shore path and there wasn’t anybody on it,” Mark Shea said. “We were the only ones. It was pretty awesome.”
“That was neat,” Megan Shea said. “We have the whole place to ourselves.”