BLAKESLEE, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s a possible big financial blow to businesses in the Poconos already hurting from the pandemic.
New York Governor Cuomo discouraging travel between Pennsylvania and New York. That could be a big problem for Monroe County where New York license plates are almost as common as Pennsylvania.
The announcement comes with a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Pennsylvania now meets New York’s quarantine requirements but it would be nearly impossible to enforce.
A rise in COVID cases in the commonwealth prompting New York’s governor to issue a travel advisory, urging people to avoid non-essential travel between Pennsylvania and New York.
The advisory comes at the height of fall tourism in Monroe County and it’s getting the attention of NEPA businesses that rely on that interstate income.
“These people that you see now walking in the store they are not locals. If you go look in the parking lot you will see nothing but New York plates,” Ahart’s greeter Arnetta Canada said.
Co-manager of Ahart’s Market, Lisa Fisher, says New Yorkers make up a big portion of their customers. She says a travel advisory is concerning.
“It would hurt a lot of businesses I think, I mean we would slow down. We’ve seen it pick up a lot since all this has happened so it would have a big impact on us,” Fisher said.
She says the area welcomed even more New Yorkers since the beginning of the pandemic.
“The second home market has definitely grown, we’ve seen the real estate market really have a big boom from all of this, even since early April. We’ve seen vacation home rentals spike up as well,” Brian Bossuyt, Executive Vice President of the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau said.
Many travel back and forth, like Canada’s kids who are based in Long Island.
“When they come through the door I zap them with my thermometer. The children wash their hands and we hug and get away. We still have family gatherings but we won’t be doing Christmas this year,” Canada said.
Only about an hour and a half from New York City, Bossuyt says 60 percent of visitors come from New York or New Jersey. A lot of area businesses depend on them, and they might not survive another shut down.
“As long as everyone still continues to wear a mask and do their part I think we’ll still be in a good spot,” Bossuyt said.
Cuomo says quarantining Pennsylvania and New York would have a disastrous impact on the economy.