Some Pottsville businesses that state officials would deem non-essential decided to carry on with things as usual this weekend.
This is despite encouragement from state officials to consider closing to reduce the potential for spread of COVID-19 coronavirus. As of writing this article, there have been 0 positive cases of coronavirus found in Schuylkill County. There are 41 statewide.
On Friday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all public schools closed and imposed “significant social distancing” measures in two counties: Montgomery and Delaware.
Pottsville Businesses Carry On with St. Paddy’s Day Plans Despite Coronavirus Worries
Saturday was supposed to be the day of the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Pottsville. Normally, it’s a raucous time and hundreds descend on the area looking to have a good time.
Special events are planned months in advance and people around the area make it a point to head downtown for some adult beverages and fun to celebrate the holiday.
Earlier this week, organizers announced they were cancelling the parade. Also cancelled were two events that draw big crowds after the parade: the Humane Fire Co. Grand Irish Party and the St. Patrick’s Day Bash at Good Intent Fire Co.
As much of a bummer as that was to some, the decision put local downtown business owners in a jam.
For years, Pottsville’s bar and restaurant businesses look forward to the St. Paddy’s Day parade as one day where they’re likely to see a significant boost in business.
The day also represents a boon for servers and employees at these businesses who now face the prospect of going a couple weeks without work if statewide coronavirus prevention methods are expanded. So far, plans are moving forward but it’s expected that crowds will be lower this year.
Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce President Gene Barr said in a press conference Friday that businesses are urged to be “flexible” when dealing with coronavirus plans.
“I have been working with the U.S. Chamber and local chambers of commerce to provide advice to our members and I want them to know that it’s time to be flexible,” he said. “Businesses’ most important assets are their customers and their employees, and they need to be flexible to be sure they are protecting them.”
The Crimson House
Earlier this week, on WNEP-TV, co-owner of The Crimson House Pat Burns said his restaurant planned to stay open through the weekend, despite the lack of a parade.
He said whether to stay open or close was going to be a last-minute decision.
On Friday night, we checked and there is no indication The Crimson House will be closing Saturday.
Down the street and around the block, Hucklebucks, a bar on Norwegian Street, said it was carrying on with plans for the weekend.
“While public events have been cancelled or postponed, we will be open for business as usual,” a post on the company’s Facebook page says. “We are taking steps to keep bar and tabletops sanitized as frequently as possible. We are stocked on hand soap and paper towels to help deter the spread of germs. We ask that if you are not feeling well to please stay home. We will not be using any garnishes in our drinks and will be as careful as possible to not touch any can or bottle tops that may come in contact with customers’ mouths.”
On Friday, WNEP was back in Pottsville at The Wheel restaurant where reporter Chase Senior noted a bustling lunch crowd and spoke to one employee who’s worried about her short-term future income.
At the wildly popular Roma Pizza downtown, owners there say they’ll continue with business. But they’re taking extra precaution with worries about coronavirus spreading.
In a social media post on Friday afternoon, the restaurant says, “We want to assure our loyal customers that we are taking the necessary measures to reinforce our already strong procedures by increasing the frequency of cleaning high touch surfaces. And hand sanitizer is available for customers at the counter and dining room area.”
Pressed Coffee & Books
Pressed Coffee & Books on Mahantongo St. remains open Saturday, too, as of publishing.
Please check with any of your intended destinations to see if they’re open if you choose to patronize these businesses while we’re dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
- SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus in Schuylkill County