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Hot start to the holiday season brings welcome traffic for local businesses

CAPITOLA, Calif. (KION) It's beginning to look like Christmas at the Capitola Village — but it sure doesn't feel like it.

To kick off December, not a single cloud is in the sky, its 75 degrees and sunny... and it's been that way for weeks.

"I just got back from Australia, so I prepared for it to be like winter here, because it's summer there. But it’s like hot," said Emily, having a December beach day with friends from San Jose.

We're now just 24 days from Christmas, and 30 days from the start of 2022. But instead of grabbing a cup of hot chocolate and turning up the Christmas music, people are turning up that Mariah Carey Christmas anthem to head to the beach.

"We were sitting in our car and the sun was actually hot. I was like, 'That's weird?' You know, like unseasonably hot, but it has been. I haven't seen a cloud for probably two weeks or so. So it's been nice," said Ross Barry, who lives in Capitola.

Some cities on the Central Coast even saw temperatures in the mid-80s Wednesday.

"By November or December, we normally are seeing some rain or at least a lot colder days," said Kristie Barron, owner of El Toro Bravo restaurant in the Village. "A lot of people flock to the beach when it's this weather, if they can get out of work rather than going to Tahoe because there's not a whole ton of snow right now."

But the unseasonable season is bringing welcome business for local shops in the area.

"People come into Santa Cruz to enjoy nature and also to support local businesses, so we're happy and we hope that we continue to have that weather. But also, we want some rain too," said Sara Coates, manager of Ethos.

For now, Capitola still has their outdoor dining set up. But the city is deciding whether or not to keep the program going.

"It's definitely huge to be able to have our outdoor seating. It's definitely helping get people out here because a lot of people still want to eat outside, especially on a beautiful day like today," said Barron.

The Capitola city council is holding a special meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m. to discuss whether they want to extend, terminate or modify the current outdoor dining program. As it stands, the program ends January 3, 2022.

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Lisa Principi

Lisa Principi is a reporter at KION News Channel 5/46.

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