VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — This Independence Day weekend celebration brought in a rush the Virginia Beach Oceanfront hasn't frequently seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
"We have multiple lots, multiple sizes and every one of them is full before noon," said Steven Salles, a parking lot attendant at 23rd Street.
He said people came to Virginia Beach from across the Commonwealth and from other states to enjoy the holiday weekend. He said he loves seeing the rush of the crowds.
"The economy here in VB is booming. I haven't seen it this busy in years," said Salles. "I think the Oceanfront business is epic. I think if you talk to the proprietors, I think everyone's going to have a banner holiday weekend."
All that foot traffic is walking right into nearby restaurants like The Beach Bully BBQ along 19th Street. Madison Lachman and Sasha Merrill work as cashiers for the summer season. They said more people sat indoors compared to last year.
"It feels great because it feels like things are kind of back to normal," said Merrill.
"We've seen a lot more people from like out of state and you can kind of tell. We get more rushes of people from the beach and stuff, especially when April hit and all through there," said Lachman.
They said not only is it great to see more people enjoy local restaurants, but they said the financial support sets them up for a good summer ahead.
"We just get a lot of big families again," said Lachman. "We get tips from people, so that's been better. The bigger the crowd, the more people."
However, for Salles, he said it's just not about the financial support, but it's also about the people at the end of the day.
"They just want to park and enjoy their day," said Salles. "So, we provide a spot for them, and for us to help them in any shape or form, it's pretty good."
Some restaurant owners said they had to prep extra food and bring in more supplies to meet the demand this weekend. Workers at the Oceanfront said they expect to see this rush continue through the rest of the season.