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San Diego economy could take a hit if cruises are cancelled

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Posted at 5:18 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-07 10:08:11-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The Port of San Diego is taking extra precautions with cruise lines amid heightened awareness surrounding the coronavirus.

About 38 ships are expected to dock in San Diego through May, some shops that rely on travelers are concerned business may slow down if cruises are canceled.

Some say they've already noticed a change.

The Port of San Diego says they installed these hand washing stations once the coronavirus concerns started rising. More stations arrived in San Diego Friday ahead of a ship's expected arrival on Saturday.


It's common to see tourists flocking to Seaport Village, providing local businesses with much of their revenue.

"They like to travel through the stores and we get a lot of business from them," Marion Smart, who has worked at Eclipse Sunglasses for 16 years, says. "This is a tourist community, very much so."

But recently Smart says she's noticed business is slowing down and concerns over the coronavirus might be to blame.

"As you can see it's kind of empty right now," Smart said. "Being that people try these on, I always spray them I disinfect them and this is the solution."

Smart usually sees a boost in business when cruise ships dock in San Diego. Saturday, the Holland America Oosterdam is expected to arrive with more than 2,000 passengers on board.


But, as reports circulate about the White House considering to warn travelers from going on cruises, the Port says San Diego's economy could take a big hit. Each ship homeported here brings in an estimated $2 million through the roughly nine-month season.

"Our market specifically is the Mexican Rivera," said Joel Valenzuela, the maritime director for Port. "That's almost $200 million in economic impact to the region."

Valenzuela says before boarding, passengers are screened and once off the ship, precautions are in place.

"We've done things such as increasing sanitation areas within the port facilities, as well as setting aside some prescreening and quarantine areas in case the cruise lines would need it," Valenzuela said.

For Smart, she's just hoping more questions about the coronavirus will be answered and things can finally get back to what they once were.

"I don't know how bad it's gonna get, how good it's going to get but hopefully it passes," Valenzuela said.

The Port says so far none of the cruises have been canceled, but that could change at any moment.