Businesses Brace for Impact of Coronavirus, Suspended Sports' Seasons

Restaurants ask for support as NBA, NHL, MLB suspend seasons

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Some Victory Park businesses are concerned after both the NBA and NHL made the difficult decision to temporarily postpone their seasons amid concerns of coronavirus while businesses in Arlington have the same worry.

“It’s going to affect us pretty bad,” said Heather Walls, a server and bartender at L’Italiano Bistro Bar across the street from the American Airlines Center. “It’s kind of a shock.”

Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks’ fans have proven to be a critical lifeline for the family-owned Italian restaurant.

“That’s our main business,” she said. “We are opened and literally packed two or three hours before the game and after the game.”

The bistro along with others businesses in Victory Park are bracing for the impact postponed sports seasons will have on their bottom lines, all as they try to keep customers and employees healthy.

“We did start taking temperatures of our employees today,” said Taryn Anderson, co-owner of Hatchways Café and co-working space as well as Billy Can Can Saloon restaurant down the road.

Anderson showed NBC 5 the process of using a no-contact thermometer on an employee who had been running errands.

“You just put it right in front of her forehead. (temperature reading) 98.3 so Emily is good to stay at work today,” said Anderson.

Fliers are also being posted on their doors informing customers of the steps they are taking to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Deep cleanings are also being increased in an effort to keep COVID-19 away and their doors open.

“We want to take these precautionary measures to make sure our facilities are safe for people to come in,” she said.

Anderson estimates the basketball and hockey season-postponement will reduce their revenue between 30-40% in the next several weeks.

“That means we just have to be really smart about labor costs,” she said.

Anderson hopes there may be a way for small businesses to receive subsidies.

Business owners in Arlington say they are worried about the future with the cancellation of so many sporting events over the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, businesses near Globe Life Field in Arlington are worried about a loss in business because of the suspended baseball season.

"We're a sports bar so with everything canceled, it'll definitely affect us," said Karie Ramirez, a bartender at the Grease Monkey on East Division Street.

She said the lost business will hit her and other employees personally.

"All of our money comes from tips," she said. "I'm sure we'll lose some money this month."

Donovan Wright, an assistant football coach at Bowie High School, works part-time selling beer during baseball games.

He said he uses the extra income to pay for things like vacation.

"I just think eventually it's going to come back and I will be able to recoup that money," he said. "But who knows when."

Wright added his heart goes out to people who depend on the money more than him but that he supports the decision to postpone large public events.

"Sports is great for everything and it brings in a lot of money but lives are a whole lot more important," he said.

NBC 5's Scott Gordon contributed to this report.

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