MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Some local businesses are feeling the effects of the coronavirus, especially ones that rely on tourists.
The owner of Getaway Adventures in Little River, Robert Harris just bought the boat tour company last year. At the start of his first season out on the water, he has already had three tours cancel because of the virus.
“I’m (thinking), ‘Oh my gosh, did I just make a bad decision?’ I understand people are worried about the virus, but for me, I put everything I own into this business, and if it doesn’t go on I don’t know if I can support my fiancé and her kids,” Harris said.
Captain and owner of North Myrtle Beach Fishing Charters, Keith Logan is in the same boat. Six out of eight of his groups canceled this week because they decided not to fly to the area for vacation.
“It pretty much is a seasonal business for us when the tourists are down here, so it’s going to make it a very hard year for us, and it will probably hurt a lot of the small businesses in the area,” Logan said.
Both Harris and Logan say they are taking extra precautions and sanitizing their boats and gear with hospital-grade disinfectant per the CDC’s guidelines. They plan to stay open throughout the outbreak.
Other businesses, like the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove on Ocean Blvd. have seen half the regular amount of tourists in the store this week.
“Viruses mutate quickly, and we have to be aware that it can be bad, but on the other hand, economics, world economics dictate that businesses must stay open. Our people would not be able to eat; would not be able to pay their rent. Someone has got to look out for the working man,” Buz Plyler, owner of the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove said.
He plans to keep the store open throughout the outbreak.
“I’m at much greater risk of my health being injured by coronavirus than the average 35-year-old employee that I have, but I’m willing to take that chance because it’s the right thing to do,” Plyler said.