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Cape Travel Increasing, But Some Businesses Won’t Reopen

Eve Zuckoff

Members of the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force say that increasing traffic and hotel reservations show the Cape is slowly getting back to its traditional summer activities.

Traffic coming over the Bourne and Sagamore bridges still lags behind a normal year, but it has edged closer to that mark in the last several weeks.

Kristy Senatori, executive director of the Cape Cod Commission, said bridge traffic was off 48 percent in April, but just 31 percent in May.

“We’re indicating a continued trend towards normal,” she said. “The canal bridge volumes for the first weekend in June were down only about 10 percent.”

She said drivers spaced out their trips and spent less time waiting in traffic back-ups, not only on the bridges, but also on local roads.

Wendy Northcross of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce said that when Governor Baker announced the start of Phase 2, hotels’ web traffic increased immediately.

“Reservation desks started to get really, really, busy,” she said. “The floodgates opened and people thought, ‘Yes, it’s OK to plan my vacation.’”

She said people have already booked thousands of nights’ worth of lodging. Yet not everything has been restored.

In a newly released local business survey, 5.5 percent of respondents whose businesses closed due to COVID-19 said they do not plan to reopen. More than 350 business owners from all 15 towns on the Cape responded to the survey by the Cape Cod Commission and Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.

Commission director Kristy Senatori said 75 percent do anticipate reopening, and 20 percent are unsure.

“Survey respondents are saying the assistance they’re needing most — beyond financial — is help with communications and marketing,” she said.

She said the majority of the responses came from accommodations, retail, restaurants, and catering businesses.

The commission has created a municipal toolkit to help towns to support the needs of local businesses adapting to social distancing. The toolkit is available on the commission’s website.

Officials have asked visitors to remember that social distancing guidelines still apply, including wearing a face mask when you can’t be six feet apart.