Home News IN PICTURES: Catalina Island struggles through pandemic with loss of tourism

IN PICTURES: Catalina Island struggles through pandemic with loss of tourism

Small, socially distanced groups enjoy sunny weather on a Catalina Island beach. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the hospitality and tourism industry. For island communities such as Catalina, which rely almost solely on tourism, the economic impact has been devastating.

In the early days of COVID-19, with all businesses and restaurants closed, tourism was nonexistent. Over the last month, as businesses have slowly re-opened with special guidelines, tourists have begun to trickle back to the island. Outdoor activities such as bicyclist, camping, hiking and zip-lining have come back strong, which allow participants to socially distance.

Signs are posted around the city of Avalon reminding residents and visitors alike to socially distance and wear masks. However, as cases in Southern California continue to spike and the governor announces business re-closures, the full impact on the island’s economy remains to be seen.

Visitors disembark from the Catalina Express boat in Avalon on Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Catalina Island visitors disembark after the trip from Long Beach. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Avalon Mayor Anni Marshall wears a custom mask on Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
The streets of Avalon on Catalina Island were quiet mid-morning. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Tourists and residents alike practice social distancing and wear face coverings in Avalon on Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Residents and visitors alike wear masks in the Catalina Island city of Avalon. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
A submersible tour vessel sits unused due to COVID-19 restrictions off the coast of Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Private boaters anchor just off the shore of Avalon on Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Boaters go about their morning routines docked in Avalon on Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Avalon beaches on Catalina Island were uncharacteristically empty heading into the 4th of July holiday weekend. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Heading into the 4th of July weekend, city of Avalon beaches on Catalina Island were uncharacteristically empty. During the summer, there would be no open space on the small beaches, according to Mayor Anni Marshall. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Catalina Island local Raul Casarez, 21, wears a face mask and protective shield during his shift at The Sand Trap Restaurant. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
The city of Avalon allowed restauranteurs to set up tables on the beach for dinner guests in order to allow for socially distanced outdoor dining. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
People party and hang out on their boats as others dine on the beach in Avalon on Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Restaurant dine-in service was prohibited by the county days before the 4th of July weekend, so customers of NDMK Fish House in Avalon wait outside for their takeout orders. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Employees of Maggie’s Blue Rose and Steve’s Steakhouse restaurants in Avalon wear face masks and protective shields while serving dinner guests on the beach. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Employees of Maggie’s Blue Rose and Steve’s Steakhouse restaurants in Avalon wear face masks and protective shields while serving dinner guests on the beach. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
A single boat anchors in a secluded harbor on Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
A lone resident plays golf in Avalon on Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Two people parasail off the coast of Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
A sailboat anchors off Catalina Island in front of Hamilton Cove. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Hikers take in views of the Pacific Ocean on Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Max Argoud, a STEM and robotics teacher in Imperial Beach, has taken annual camping trips to Catalina Island for 30 years. He said his trip was delayed due to COVID-19 but that he never considered canceling it indefinitely. Argoud is pictured at his campsite. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
A pair of bicyclists ride past two hikers on Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
A bison has a small branch stuck on its horn on Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Bison graze on Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Cacti thrive on Catalina Island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
A dog plays fetch at Catalina Island Airport in the Sky. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Two people push a single-engine aircraft off the runway after landing while a private jet approaches Catalina Airport in the Sky. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Tourists exit the tarmac at Catalina Airport. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
Passengers boarding the Catalina Express are required to wear face masks aboard the ship for the duration of the trip to the island. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
The last Catalina Express boat from the island to the mainland for the day was much less crowded than a normal summer day due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo by Brandon Richardson.
A passenger watches the sunset during the return trip to Long Beach aboard the Catalina Express. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

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