Overcoming adversity for hospitality, tourism in Schuylkill County

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POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) The pandemic has continued to take a toll on tourism and hospitality. In schuylkill county it’s all about hard work, good food and community.
It’s played a crucial role thus far and that won’t stop anytime soon.

“We’re coming up on a year since Governor Wolf mandated the initial shutdown was right after St. Patrick’s day last year,” said local small business owner Savas Logothetides. “It has been a rough year, i mean it really has been especially for small business.”

You hear it from prominent community members in the region like Logothetides, who runs the popular Wheel restaurant group. You hear it more and more as you frequent small businesses and attraction across the county.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars lost to direct or local tourism that would have been if the last 11 months had been any kind of normal. Talking with residents, business owners and the organizations that support them, it’s been a relatively internal effort to keep bills paid and businesses afloat, even as restrictions have lifted since almost a year ago.

“It’s almost impossible from an economic standpoint, out of 50% capacity level for businesses to make it make it go,” said Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce president Robert Carl.

“You can feel the reciprocal support for the small businesses specifically restaurants and retailers right now,” added Logothetides. “We’re just really hoping that everything goes back to normal, pretty soon at this point.”

Many in the region continue to support local, but here in Pottsville and around the county?
Generational businesses as well as entrepenuerial ventures that were starting to make their way here before the shutdowns and restrictions grow closer to having to shut their doors.

Different organizations as well as local governments are taking advantage of loans and opportunities whenever they can. The county just announced, yesterday, they’re sending $1.6 million in relief to the local hospitality industry through the State Workers Compensation Fund Act.

The next step is looking for more ways to let people know it’s safe to come back and visit the many businesses and attractions in Coal Country.

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