DELAWARE WATER GAP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Officials and business owners in Delaware Water Gap gathered on Thursday to spread the word that its businesses are open, despite part of Route 611 being closed.

Route 611, connecting Monroe and Northampton counties in Delaware Water Gap closed last week after heavy rain caused damage to the slope and retaining wall. The roadway will be closed until crews can assess the damage.

Business owners and local officials are speaking out to spread the word that the surrounding communities are still open for business.

“COVID really hit us hard out here in the borough and our businesses and we wanted to make sure we didn’t fall under that again,” said Mayor Larry freshcorn, Delaware Water Gap.

Lauren chamberlain owns an antique shop and says she’s down 75 percent in sales compared to last year.

“A Thursday before a holiday weekend? This would be just kind of nonstop and people hiking it’s a beautiful day, there have been no hikers. People don’t know the trailhead is open,” explained Lauren Chamberlain, Owner, Asparagus Sunshine.

Yudelky Schomberg opened her shop in Portland just over a month ago and is worried about keeping its doors open.

“Very hard, it has been devastating because we have only four weeks, we just started having to get the people to come in, and then all of a sudden the road closed,” said Yudelky Schomberg, Business Owner, Portland.

Borough officials say on top of a decrease in business the closure is also a safety issue for first responders now needing to use Interstate 80 as a detour.

The upper Mt. Bethel Township Manager tells Eyewitness News they’re expecting heavy traffic this holiday weekend because of out-of-town drivers in the for the holidays.

“They’re not familiar with the area, they’re confused, and they’re on the side roads trying to get to wherever they’re trying to get using their GPS, you know so it’s going to be tough,” said Ed Nelson, manager, Upper Mt. Bethel Township.

Again PennDOT says that part of Route 611 will remain closed until they can bring a specialist out to evaluate the damage.