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Wed May 6, 2020, 05:27 AM

On Catalina Island, Unemployment Is 90%. A Local Food Pantry Is Making Sure No One Goes Hungry

Catalina Island is 26 miles off the coast of Long Beach, a peaceful rock in the glimmering Pacific. It is known as a tourist destination, but around 4,000 people live there year-round. The island is accessible by small airplane, but most visitors and locals take the ferry ó a $75 round-trip journey.

The hour-long ferry from Long Beach to the town of Avalon on Catalina Island is only open for essential travel. Mask-wearing is mandatory (though you can still purchase a Bloody Mary, if you slip the straw under your mask).

I know this because Iím from Catalina. I rode the ferry from Long Beach earlier this month to shelter in place with my mom. There are only two documented cases of COVID-19 on Catalina Island, but for a town that relies on tourism, the loss of business has devastated locals.

The city of Avalon unemployment estimates are as high as 90%, and most of the town's restaurants, hotels and beaches are closed. The red-brick streets that would typically be bustling with selfie-stick wielding tourists are empty. Avalon feels like a ghost town.

Read more: https://www.kqed.org/news/11814956/on-catalina-island-unemployment-is-90-a-local-food-pantry-is-making-sure-no-one-goes-hungry

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