MCCALL, Idaho — Despite a mandatory mask order, the City of McCall expects up to 20,000 visitors during the Fourth of July weekend.
Every year McCall companies do big business during this busy holiday weekend as travelers from throughout Idaho and the Northwest head to the scenic lakeside community.
That includes longtime Cheap Thrills, which provides rental watercraft, including jet skis and boats, on Payette Lake.
“Cheap Thrills is an awesome McCall institution; we’ve been here for 25 years,” said Julie Whitescarver, manager of Cheap Thrills.
As you can imagine, the town is a hot spot for visitors in the summer months.
“It’s pretty wild, yes. It’s the wild, wild west,” Whitescarver said.
This Fourth of July weekend it may look like the wild west with McCall’s new mask mandate. City leaders, business owners, and the people of McCall we spoke to said it’s a welcomed rule.
“To see that the city is supporting us and other businesses and wanting to keep our community safe is really important to us,” Whitescarver said.
For weeks the team at Cheap Thrills has worked hard to create a safe environment for customers and employees.
That attention to detail goes from the boats all the way down to the life jackets.
“We have lifejacket sanitizer,” Whitescarver laughed.
Across town at My Father’s Place, manager Terry Lewis said they too are taking COVID-19 measures seriously.
“Masks are mandatory. It’s going to be good for everybody,” Lewis said. “We have actually changed our system just a bit. For instance, we do not offer any inside seating. It’s all outside. Orders are done through our outside window.”
Despite the pandemic, they are still expecting a lot of guests.
“Judging from what we had yesterday and what we have today, I expect nothing less than what we’ve had the last few years,” Lewis said.
Mandatory masks aren’t the only major difference in McCall this holiday weekend. Many popular places in McCall won’t be open.
Lardos Grill and Saloon, Frenchie’s on Third, and Foresters Club are a few examples.
Ruby’s Kitchen posted on their Facebook page that they too are temporarily closing because of coronavirus concerns.
For businesses that are open, like Cheap Thrills and My Father’s Place, the city of McCall has a message: They welcome visitors but ask that everyone be respectful of their community.
“Come up here and enjoy yourselves but, again, just act responsible and do what you can to help keep other people and yourself safe,” Lewis said.
“Hopefully all of our visitors come up here and take care of our community so we can keep providing a safe and positive experience for the rest of the summer,” she said.
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