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San Diego businesses bracing for a busy Fourth of July weekend

This holiday is expected to be the busiest weekend in our county since the pandemic started.

SAN DIEGO — Explosions in the sky this July 4, but San Diego businesses are hoping the real fireworks will hit their cash registers all weekend long. 

This holiday is expected to be the busiest weekend in our county since the pandemic started. Hotels say they are sold out. Restaurants are seeing a rise in reservations. 

But are they all ready to handle this sudden surge?

“Fourth of July is going to be crazy busy,” Pepe Stepensky said. 

Stepensky, owner of San Diego Burger Company and Margarita's Kitchen and Cantina in Seaport Village, said many retailers at the center believe July 4 will be their single biggest day of the year... and hopefully the start of a great summer season. 

“We really hope so,” he said. “It looks like we're going to trend that way. We have been seeing an increase on business. This is a Monday and there's a line of people.”

Stepensky said he has the staff to handle the increased business, but at a hotel stay last weekend, he saw firsthand what can happen when that's not the case. 

“They took more people than they could take care of. I ended making my own bed, going to get my towels. It was a five-star resort and they weren't ready for us," he said. 

At the Ocean Park Inn in Pacific Beach, owner Elvin Lai said he could have sold every room at his hotel this weekend, but chose not to for that very reason. Instead, he calls his hotel “functionally full." 

“We're not sold out,” Lai said. “We still have rooms that we could sell, but if we were to sell all those rooms, we wouldn't be able to maintain customer service, maintain cleanliness, and maintain basically anything for that matter.”

Lai said hiring more staff has been harder than he expected, but he's thankful the crowds are coming back. After talking with guests, he said it's clear they're looking for any excuse to get away. 

“There are more first-time family reunions in my hotel this summer than I've ever had. They say - it's our family reunion - oh - you do this every year? No this is our first time. We're seeing a lot of that. Let's all get out - let's all get together," Lai said. 

By the way, social distancing shouldn't be too tough at fireworks shows. There are more than a dozen of them planned across our county. Click here for a complete list of locations and times.

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