HELEN, Ga.—Nita Decker, who has a cabin-rental business in this faux-Bavarian tourist destination in the North Georgia mountains, is the busiest she has ever been.
“We never saw it coming,” she said. “We can’t keep up with the laundry.”
When the pandemic hit, Ms. Decker had to cope with dozens of cancellations and employees unwilling to work because of concerns about contracting Covid-19. But after Georgia allowed many businesses to reopen, couples and families from Atlanta and surrounding cities—looking for vacations away from crowds—poured into the area. Now Ms. Decker is booking cabins months in advance. Not only did she retain her 21 employees, but she also gave them bonuses, she said.
Overall, the coronavirus has curtailed travel throughout the U.S., with people avoiding dense cities, amusement parks and other destinations. Most business travel has been canceled. But some areas with the magic formula—a short drive from large metro areas with a lot of outdoor activities and few crowds—have seen a surge in business as the pandemic has shut down other vacation options.
Conventions in Atlanta have been canceled. Hotels and restaurants in Savannah, Ga., have struggled, and the cruise business there has been crippled. Delta Air Lines Inc., based in Atlanta, has lost billions.