Coronavirus concerns impact downtown businesses

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As concerns about the COVID-19 spreads across Arkansas, state and city leaders are urging people avoid contact and cancel events of 200 people or more. This caused the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and block party here in Little Rock be postponed. For many downtown businesses, this is one of their biggest days of the year.

Normally the saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, you’d see a sea of green in the streets of downtown Little Rock.

“There’s a large parade that comes through and we usually block off the street and have a large block party,” Dugan’s Pub Owner Don Dugan said.

With Coronavirus concerns sweeping the state, the popular parade and block party were canceled.

“We felt like we would be irresponsible to not go ahead and follow suit with that,” Dugan said.

Dugan’s is an Irish pub so this is canceling their most popular day of the year.

“All the beer got delivered Thursday morning and then Thursday afternoon they were like nope,” Dugan said.

Its hitting their pockets hard.

“Hope it works out,” Dugan said.

Preparations began months and months in advance and while some of this truck load of alcohol can be used after the Irish holiday, some cannot. Those behind the bar are feeling it too.

“Some of the ones who are tipped employees they’re definitely going to be the ones that take the brunt of this,” Dugan said.

Even after St. Patrick’s Day, restaurant and bar owners like Dugan are worried about the future.

“I’ve got to look at the possibility that it may not be the same as it ever has been,” Dugan said.

Several of the pub’s suppliers are letting Dugan return some of the shipments. Dugan said he will meet with the other event organizers in the next couple of months to find a new date for the parade and block party.

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