Wesley Ewell, masked

What will the summer of 2020 be like in Bourne? Life has taken so many strange twists and turns this year, any prediction is only speculation, but here is mine. I think that Bourne will have a very good season, with more people, more traffic and many local businesses doing well.

It won’t be a typical summer, though, as our favorite group activities won’t happen. There will be no county fair, no scallop fest, no Fourth of July parade, no Cape Baseball League and no summer theater.

There will be family gatherings, backyard barbecues, boating, fishing, bicycling and golf for those who are willing to walk the course. Expect beaches and marinas to remain open, but with strict enforcement of social distancing and safety measures, including limited access.

Bourne’s population usually doubles in July and August. And while we traditionally refer to the summer visitors as tourists, the vast majority of our summer residents are second-home owners or renters. We don’t see as many day-trippers and weekenders as some other Cape towns, except for friends and family members.

With the schools closed and more people working remotely or not at all, the summer folk are already arriving earlier and likely to stay longer. There will be less commuting between the Cape house and the city, but still plenty of summer traffic. If we need to isolate, what better place to do it than in Bourne?

We are likely to see some easing of restrictions on small retail and service businesses, with a new emphasis on curbside service and continued limits on the number of customers allowed inside at any time. Expect to see strange mask-like tan lines on a lot of people this year.

Restaurants that can accommodate drive-through pickup will be busy, but those that rely on bar patronage will continue to suffer. The pandemic has fundamentally changed the food service industry, and this will be a summer of adjustment for everyone in the business.

Traditional gatherings for church services, weddings and funerals will most likely continue to be limited at least through the summer. Some will be conducted remotely, but many will be postponed by as much as a year.

Those of us old enough to remember summers in Bourne in the middle of the last century might see familiar patterns. Families staying close to home, enjoying the sunshine and cooking out on the deck, sailing out to Bassett’s for a picnic on the beach, or walking along the canal in the evening. Of course, back then we didn’t have the internet, Netflix or Hulu. The kids will remain glued to their devices no matter where they are staying.

For a very important group of Bourne residents not much will change. Those working in healthcare, police, fire protection, emergency services and grocery stores will continue to be stressed beyond reason. This pandemic has given all of us a new appreciation of the wonderfully dedicated people who provide our essential services and will have no vacation this year. Give them a break, help them when you can and be generous with your smiles and tips.

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