California’s famous Santa Catalina Island or the ‘Island of Romance’ turns into a ghost town after the lockdown, California


California's famous Santa Catalina Island or the 'Island of Romance' turns into a ghost town after the lockdown

The picturesque Santa Catalina Island in California, also known as the Island of Romance, is badly hit by the virus lockdown situation. Though the lockdown has saved the lives of nearly 4000 people living on this small island, the economy of the place is completely crippled as it was solely dependent on the tourism industry.

According to the city’s mayor, Ann Marshall, the city’s Avalon port has lost nearly $2 million in business because of the shutdown.

The island gained popularity after the 1950s pop song 26 Miles, where Santa Catalina has been referred to as the Island of Romance. Today, this gorgeous island is all isolated with very little life as the place was locked down because the virus was spreading fast on the mainland. The ocean-front city of Avalon that once used to sell millions of postcards has sadly turned into a ghost town.

The hotels are empty, the bars along the strand have shut down, almost all the restaurants are closed and the snorkelers, boaters, surfers, hikers and others who would be filling the island’s beaches and crystal-blue waters are nowhere to be found.

The islanders, whose income was based on tourism, are in a bad condition. They say that they do not have enough to survive on and they can’t depend on property taxes for long, which is insufficient. They want their “tourist dollars back.”

Though the island is all quiet and peaceful, locals here long for those days when tourists used to flock the streets. They miss the days when their restaurants, clubs and pubs used to be filled with all sorts of touristy noises.

According to the local Chamber of Commerce, the gorgeous island used to attract more than a million tourists every year. Before the COVID-19 lockdown happened, the Catalina Express ferries used to transport hundreds of tourists from mainland ports but now the ferries operate just two times a day, primarily to take islanders to the mainland for doctor appointments and, sometimes, to buy essentials.

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