AVALON, Calif. — When the gates to California’s “island of romance” were all but locked to lovers and pretty much everybody else last month it may have saved the 4,000 residents from a coronavirus outbreak but it destroyed an economy based almost solely on tourism. The stay-at home order instituted across California isolated tiny Santa Catalina Island from the virus that was spreading rapidly on the mainland. The ocean-front city of Avalon, whose picturesque beauty has sold millions of postcards over the years, has been turned into a ghost town. The hotels are empty, the bars along the strand have shut down, almost all the restaurants are closed and the snorkelers, boaters, surfers, hikers and others who would be filling the island’s beaches and crystal-blue waters are nowhere to be found. “We’re dying here,” said 25-year resident Carole Cotter, pulling off her protective mask to talk after a grocery trip. “We can’t survive just on property taxes, that’s insufficient. We need our tourist dollars back.” Cotter, whose husband has been furloughed from operating the tram that carries people to Catalina’s picturesque “Airport in the Sky,” said that although the peace and quiet has sometimes been pleasant most locals long for


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