Reopening Task Force Looks Back on Summer Expectations, Results

HYANNIS – Members of the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force looked back at the summer season amid the COVID-19 pandemic during their recent meeting.

Even after challenges were faced and sacrifices were made over the past few months, Cape & Islands State Senator Julian Cyr said that the Cape saw better progress and results this summer than he initially anticipated at the start of the pandemic.

“Overall, there’s a sense among the Task Force that we did better than expected,” Cyr said during the meeting, “both from a community spread perspective and also from our ability to welcome people here.”

While the total number of people who visited Barnstable County was generally lower this summer compared to previous years, Cyr did note that traffic coming onto the Cape over the bridges across the canal increased as the season progressed.

Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO Wendy Northcross brought up the review of short and long-term rentals during the summer.

As short-term rentals and hotel occupancy took some hits during the season, Northcross said that the amount of long-term rentals on the Cape–those that were 30 days or longer–saw increases.

She said many people wanted to settle into the area for a greater period of time.

With that also came an increase in the number of rental properties taken off of the market this summer by owners, Northcross said.

“They were going to use it for their own purposes, or they didn’t want to take on any liability risk if someone were to use their home as a rental and get sick,” Northcross said.

Cyr added that more than 60% of local businesses who responded to surveys did wish they could have received more aid from the state or federal levels as expenditures rose during the summer and revenues took hits.

He said that unemployment on the Cape, for the most part, is currently on track with the rest of Massachusetts as the winter months approach.

The pandemic has compounded that issue, he explained, along with other challenges that face the region, such as housing.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
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