David LaFontaine II was planning a trip to Maryland this Masters Week.
In years past, LaFontaine was able to go on vacation and still make money off of his rental. But when the Augusta National Golf Club opted to limit patrons for the 2021 Masters, his plans were canceled and he will not see that extra income.
“Maybe next year’s Masters will be normal,” he said.
That’s the hope of many in the Augusta area including Corporate Quarters Director of Operations Kelly Starr. With limited patrons, rentals through the housing business are down 50%, she said, and the company’s families that traditionally rent during the tournament are “hurting.”
“This is just a bump in the road. We’ll get over it and we should be grateful and thankful for the good years when the homeowners have been able to absorb all this money … We just pray 2022 will be better.”
Home rental businesses and individuals are not the only ones taking a hit with the limit on patrons. Travel agencies like Southern Travel Agency in Martinez have been impacted by the pandemic overall due to many vacation destinations and all cruise lines being closed. Owner Michael Kerbelis said even states like Hawaii have strict policies for visitors causing many to stay at home or find other places to go.
“We’re not on the other side of this pandemic,” he said.
While many far away vacation plans have been thwarted, some Augusta-area residents are opting for closer locations such as the nearby beaches. Since school will be out for the week, Kasie Newman will be taking her children for some fun in the sun.
“I usually work Masters Week but this year is all about family time and enjoying our time together,” she said.
Christina Miller is also planning a trip to Myrtle Beach but plans to social distance and wear masks when necessary.
“We have been isolated for a long time now,” she said. “We are trying to stay safe and since we haven’t gotten the vaccine yet the beach seems the best option.”