Closures throughout March and most of April brought economic hardship to recreational businesses, but this weekend is expected to be a turning point in the recovery.

Crowds of thousands are expected to arrive in Lake Havasu City throughout the Memorial Day weekend, with boaters and holiday travelers lining the Bridgewater Channel and enjoying the sites of Havasu’s scenic coastline.

Where people go, money will follow – and for Havasu’s tourism and recreation economy, this weekend’s activity could bring the surge in revenue that business owners have been waiting for.

“It’s not only a holiday weekend, but the lockdown in California is drawing people here in droves,” said Heat Hotel General Manager Tory Criss. “We’ve seen great weekend traffic all month, and we’re fully booked again this weekend.”

Overlooking the Bridgewater Channel, the Heat’s outdoor bar officially reopened Friday afternoon in anticipation of holiday crowds.

“A lot of guests arrived yesterday, and we’re expecting things to be busy Saturday, Sunday and Monday,” Criss said. “Like everyone in Havasu, March hit us hard. We started to see resurgence in mid-April, and we’re expecting this to be our busiest weekend so far. We hope it’s a good sign of what to expect later this summer.”

At the English Village, popular Havasu nightspot Kokomo is planning to staff extra security and bartenders in anticipation of the expected business boom this weekend.

“All our staff has been itching to come back,” said Kokomo Assistant Manager Josh Matter. “People were tired of not working. This will be our first weekend of being fully open.”

Kokomo, which stands just across the Bridgewater Channel from the Heat Hotel, has already experienced growing daytime crowds since reopening on May 11.

“People still want to come out,” Matter said. “Havasu is going to be fine … it’s going to bounce back. It’s a great little community. We won’t make up the deficit (from March and April) in one weekend, but if it shows Havasu is good again, people will keep coming out.”

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