The City of Monterey has made the decision to cancel cruise ship visits, out of an abundance of caution as fears over coronavirus continue.
Officials say this is in the interest of the safety of their residents, workers, and visitors, so the City of Monterey last Friday asked cruise ship agencies to cancel their upcoming cruises into Monterey Bay, and they have complied.
The Royal Princess has cancelled visits to Monterey on March 31, April 14, and April 28. The Maasdam – Holland America cruise ship has cancelled their April 29 visit.
“The City of Monterey has an obligation to ensure the public health of our residents, employees and visitors, and we appreciate the cruise ship companies taking action on behalf of our request,” said City Manager Hans Uslar.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that, “because of the unusual nature of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the US government is advising US travelers, particularly those with underlying health issues, to defer cruise ship travel. Recent reports of COVID-19 on cruise ships highlight the risk of infection to cruise ship passengers and crew. Like many other viruses, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships.”
The City will continue to keep the public updated on the status of cruise ship visits.
The county of Monterey has no confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Without cruise ships visiting Monterey in upcoming weeks, businesses are preparing for a drop in tourism. And when tourism drops in Monterey, Steve Mortensen--a server at Sandbar and Grill--says that he feels the effects.
"I have a lot less money," Mortensen said.
He went on to say that, without tourists, they get five to six less tables a night. And that's what he is expecting to face now that the City of Monterey has asked cruise ships not to stop there.
"You just have to hope that you saved enough to make it through," Mortensen said. "When it’s time to pay rent and stuff like that.”
But the effects might not be confined to Monterey. There could be a ripple effect. The Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce said that, without tourists, businesses all throughout the Peninsula could suffer. And not just for the time being.
“They come out and they visit all the towns and, you know, they shop and they have lunch," Moe, Ammar, president of the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce, said. "But I think—most importantly—is they tend to come back and stay.”
So far, the chamber said that Pacific Grove has seen a four to five percent drop in tourism. At most, it expects a 10 percent drop during this time.
Even though a dip like that will hurt financially, Mortensen said he understands why Monterey took this step.
“People say it’s a big hype and this and that, but I think they’re on it early, and I think because of that, it’s going to be less dangerous than it might have been,” Mortensen said.
And, in the end, he thinks the city's economy will recover.
“The city of Monterey will be fine. If you have a dip, then it’s fine," Mortensen said. "I mean, they’ll be fine—people always come to Monterey.”