Small businesses could feel impact of virtual learning at East Stroudsburg University

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STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Some college students in our region will not be heading back to the classrooms for the upcoming fall semester. This will have a big impact on many local businesses.

Many small businesses have seen negative effects due to COVID-19. Now small businesses in the Monroe County area are going to see even greater impacts due to East Stroudsburg University students not coming back to campus this fall.

“I can imagine barber shops on Crystal Street, the night life in downtown Stroudsburg and Crystal Street, all of those restaurants that are there that would be patronized by college students. That would have a huge impact on the local community,” said George Halas, owner of Arlington Diner.

The Arlington Diner has been in the Halas family for about 50 years. Serving up homemade meals to the Monroe County community. They shut down for months because of the pandemic and took a major financial hit.

Now, most East Stroudsburg University students, who frequent the diner, will not be returning to campus this fall. That’s going to make their situation even harder.

“Usually Saturday morning is their big morning here unless it’s parents weekend and then it’s the whole weekend. Bombarded with parents and students,” said Lori Steinberg, a server at Arlington Diner.

A coffee shop off main street in Stroudsburg just opened at the beginning of the month, anxiously waiting for college students to stop in. Now that won’t be happening, as the students complete their fall semester virtually.

“We’re right in the heart of where our ESU students are coming. We expected it to be very busy,” said Jill Melia, the co-owner of Spark Coffee Company.

Goldberg’s Bagel Shop is just down the street from campus. They know the next few months won’t be easy, as college students used to come in often, between classes.

“They’re a big impact on our business. They always come in before class saying they want a bacon egg and cheese or something. Without them coming back it’s going to hurt,” said Brittany Decker, an employee at Goldberg’s.

Though the struggle is not over for these small businesses, they know they will make it through.

“Just you know, take it day by day. It’s the best you can do right now,” said Halas.

“We just got to be patient and hope for the best,” said Decker.

East Stroudsburg University is looking into doing in person classes this spring, but that will not be decided for a few months to come.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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