Business booming at Second Saturday in Bay St. Louis with mandates lifted

Updated: May. 8, 2021 at 9:57 PM CDT
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BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - It was the first Second Saturday in Bay St. Louis since all of the COVID-19 mandates in Mississippi, except for schools were lifted. And that action taken by Gov. Tate Reeves was the motivation for many people to come from out of state to do business and to do fun in the Bay.

Karen Grumbine, manager of Bay-Tique and Salty South Outfitters in downtown Bay St. Louis is in retail heaven.

“It was difficult last year,” she said. “It has really been great this year. It has been overwhelming. We can’t even believe how well we are doing.”

Grumbine said easing COVID-19 restrictions has been the key.

“I think it’s bringing more people because I think New Orleans still has the mask mandate,” said Grumbine. “And they’re so excited when they don’t have to wear a mask and they come in thinking they do, and they see we don’t have one on, and they’re like, ‘Thank you.’ "

New Orleans resident Ashley O’Bryan is among those happy to be here.

“We actually came for Mother’s Day, but we knew that ya’ll lifted your mask mandates as well,” she said. “I actually used to live in Mississippi for quite a while and it was always just a quick hop, skip and jump to come visit. So, we figured this would be the greatest time to come.”

Kimberly Mongrue is also from New Orleans, where restrictions are tighter.

“Obviously, being without a mask after doing this for a year and a half, it’s refreshing,” said Mongrue.

And as Mongrue usually does when she comes here, she spent plenty of money.

“Absolutely we did. And we like to support the small businesses,” she said. “I’m a business owner myself. So, I understand what it is like for them to obviously have taken a hit.”

The crowds stuffed the streets downtown early in the day. Among them was Kathy Williams, another visitor from Louisiana.

“I’m feeling great about it,” she said. “I’ve been vaccinated. So, I feel good about being out. It’s beautiful sunshine. And, it’s great for the businesses and great for the tourists.”

Sandra Landrum is on the Coast from Georgia for Mother’s Day. Outside socializing is fine for her, but her mask is always at the ready.

“I don’t want us to have a false sense of security thinking just because the cases are down that we can start getting comfortable,” she said. “I’m fine with keeping masks on until this is completely over.”

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