'They came in droves:' Illinois tourists flock to open Lake Geneva over weekend

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LAKE GENEVA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A long line of cars Saturday brought business Lake Geneva store owners hadn’t seen in some time.

“Saturday, I took in more money than I did the entire months of March and April and May up to the point where we reopened,” Geneva Gifts owner Melissa Reuss said.

Illinois customers often make up a large portion of business in the area, but Bob’s Beach Shack owner Bob Lee said Saturday was another story.

“They came in droves," Lee said. "The business we got this weekend was like Fourth of July business. It was insane.”

Illinois customers said they miss open businesses.

“Visit stores like Bob’s, and go get some ice cream," Illinois tourist Agnus Bernert said. "Like, we can’t do that in illinois right now, and it’s just, it’s nice.”

Not everyone in the area is happy about the situation.

Some worry it will cause a spike in area COVID-19 cases, and several businesses have chosen to remain closed.

But owners of stores geared toward tourists said they couldn’t make any money while the state was shut down.

“I went into debt," Treasure Cove owner Joanne Patzfahl said. "Yes it will take me a couple years probably to get out of debt because it was no income coming in, and we still have so many bills. People are afraid and everything, but we need to survive. We can’t work from home.”

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