COVID-19 impacts local businesses

Shawn Hardy
This notice is posted on the door of the Goodwill store at Greencastle Market Place on North Antrim Way. Similar notices can be seen all over town amid unfolding measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT

"Tell everyone to chill out, beer is coming," was the message from Toni Brewbaker late Tuesday morning at Greencastle Beverage Distributor.

As new steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are announced daily, businesses and their customers are reacting.

That meant a run on beer Monday and Greencastle Beverage Distributor saw its biggest day ever in the 35 years it's been owned by Rick and Toni Brewbaker.

"I've never seen anything like it," Toni Brewbaker said, explaining there were only about five cases left at the end of the day Monday.

More beer arrived Tuesday and other shipments are expected, but distributors tell the Brewbakers they are taking it "day by day."

Heather Wincovitch of Greencastle stopped by to pick up some Twisted Tea and peach Jack Daniels coolers to have drinks on hand since it is not known how long efforts to fight the pandemic will go on.

"If we feel like we need it, we'll have something," said Wincovitch, who has a first-hand view of the impact on some local residents.

She works in consumer and donor relations at the Salvation Army in Hagerstown, where the soup kitchen is feeding families in need on a to-go basis from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on Wise Street in Hagerstown. The location helps families from Greencastle, too.

Boxes of food also are available and donations appreciated.

As businesses shut their doors and employees can't go to work "people may come to us," she said.

Just around the corner Kenny Barnes of Flintstone, Md., and Kenny Dixon of Cumberland, Md., sat at a table outside Tony's New York Pizza. The two were in the area with Barney's Quality Drywall, Barnes' business.

"I don't think it's bad around here yet, but they've got me worried," said Dixon.

"We have to see what happens. I hope it doesn't drive the economy down again," said Barnes, who explained it took him years to recover financially from the last recession.

Inside Tony's, chairs and tables are pushed to the side, clearly indicating the dining area is closed in compliance with the order issued by Gov. Tom Wolf effective at midnight Monday.

Like many restaurants, Tony's remains open for pickup and delivery. Business was somewhat slower than on a usual Tuesday, according to owner Joe Natale.

"It's the norm when something like this happens," Natale said. "It puts a damper on any business, but it shouldn't hurt real bad.

"It's all about the safety of the people and making sure everyone's out of harm's way," Natale said, adding in his opinion the governor's decision is the right move.

"Life is more important than money," he said.

Heading north on Antrim Way, signs on the doors of businesses at Greencastle Market Place tell the tale. Many like Goodwill, Sora Sushi, Nail II, Holiday and Sprint, as well as the state wine and spirits store are closed.

Dollar General is giving preference to seniors the first hour it is open, suggesting limits on purchases of paper, hand sanitizer and wipes and closing an hour early at 8 p.m.

At 1st Ed Credit Union, the lobby is closed until March 28, appointments are needed for transactions like IRAs and loans and it is noted the drive-through is open at the Chambersburg location.

At nearby F&M Trust, the lobby is closed, appointments are needed for in-person services and the drive-through is open.

"The health and safety of our community is our top priority," the sign at F&M says.