December 2, 2021

Local businesses continue as normal amid virus fears

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Kurt Vetters, a manager at Spiedini’s Pizza Parlor in Cortland, takes a pizza out of the oven Thursday. Vetters said that the business has been operating as normal as the threat of the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the state.

Grocery stores are stocking up on cleaning and disinfecting supplies; restaurants are paying more attention to customers who may show signs of coronavirus and paying extra attention to cleaning surfaces.

But otherwise, business owners say they’re not greatly changing their ways in the wake of the 325 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York as of Thursday. That’s up from 216 cases just 24 hours earlier.

“We don’t see any local panic, which is a good thing,” said Bob Haight, president and CEO of the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce.

Haight,said he has been in contact with local business owners who are taking precautions like extra sanitation of working areas to reduce the spread of the virus, which has seen more than 1,600 confirmed cases so far in America, with 41
deaths.

Business also seems to be going on as normal, he said, noting that people have been following their routines.

Still, the chamber is sending out information on how business owners can protect themselves by washing hands, covering coughs and staying home when not feeling well, he said.

“They’re doing things they would be doing during a flu season, just being a little extra diligent,” Haight said.

“We’re just doing the same as we always do,” said Kurt Vetters, manager of Spiedini’s Pizza Parlor on Main Street, Cortland. He did say though that he will pay more attention to customers who may seem sick and do extra cleaning and sanitizing to be safe.

With Wednesday’s news of SUNY Cortland, Tompkins Cortland Community College and all other SUNY schools moving to distance learning, Vetters said business may be hurt, though not yet.

“Students are a huge portion of the business,” he said.

“They run our nights.”

Grocery stores like Tops supermarket have increased the availability of disinfectants, sanitizers and cleaning supplies for workers to use, Kathy Sautter, the public and media relations manager for Tops, said in an email.

However, items such as disinfectant wipes, disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer and similar products are being rationed — two items per customer, she said.

“Since this is an ever-changing situation, we will continue to monitor it closely and will make adjustments accordingly,” she said.

At 281 Bowl, owner Scott Becker said he has been cleaning and sanitizing tables and chairs daily, though that is part of his normal routine.

He has though been more thorough.

We’re “just making sure we wipe everything down good,” he said.

He said he hopes what the government is saying about healthy people not being affected is true.This includes bowlers.

“They’re doing something to stay healthy,” he said.

Becker does want to make sure that people who are sick stay home, but worried the fear of the coronavirus will prevent people from socializing.