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Changes to the holiday season as California businesses adapt to pandemic

Posted at 9:00 AM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-04 12:00:03-05

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KERO) — Stay at home orders, mask mandates, social distancing - California's regulations are making it difficult to continue traditional holiday festivities. Adam Racusin explains the impact on businesses across the state and how they're shifting how they operate to stay open.

The Holiday Bowl has been finishing off the football season in San Diego for more than 40 years. Bringing with it two high profile college football's teams and a waterfront parade. But like many other things in 2020 this year's game won't be played.

"Making this decision was agonizing but when we take a step back and look at it - it was absolutely the right decision," said Mark Neville, Executive Director of the SDCCU Holiday Bowl.

Before you say it's just a football game you need to follow the money. Over the last decade, the event has averaged about $31 million in economic benefit annually for the San Diego region.

"It takes place during the slowest period of the year. The Christmas to New Year's period. Were it not for the Holiday Bowl there'd be very few people in town, very few out of towners here enjoying our city," added Neville.

This year holiday events across the state are feeling the impact.

Michael Arnold is the coordinator for the Cambria Christmas Market and Lights at Cambria Pines. The event normally draws in guests from across the world. To stay within state health guidelines they canceled the market and focused on the millions of lights.

"We're seeing probably 10 percent of our normal attendance. So it is a big effect. We're fortunate that our hotel is on-site so it does stay pretty busy," said Arnold. "The Christmas Market on a normal year really brings a lot of tourism to Cambria so it's great for all the local shops and other hotels as well so in that aspect we're certainly feeling it in the town of Cambria."

About two and half hours east is a similar situation. The show at Christmas Town in Bakersfield will go on just with some major modifications. They doubled the size of the light show.

"We don't' have the ice-skating rink or the bounce houses or the laser tag or the snow hill or shooting the abominable snowman that was always what the dads liked to do," explained Mike Ross. "With this kind of year you know I think a lot of people were just glad we were able to get open they loved the new addition to the lights"

This year the traditions you've known from the past might look a little different. Instead of canceling those behind so many celebrations decided to press on.