PVD state of emergency puts a strain on small businesses

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza declared a state of emergency for the city on Thursday.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza declared a state of emergency for the city on Thursday.

He is invoking the city’s emergency powers to temporarily revoke all entertainment licenses that have been issued and will not issue any new one for the time being.

This means the Providence Saint Patrick’s Day parade and the Saint Joseph’s Day festival are postponed.

Elorza also announced he is restricting all restaurants and bars from serving more than 100 people at a time.

“The health and safety of our residents, businesses, and visitors is our absolute top priority and we need to contain this virus in any way that we can,” said Elorza.

These new guidelines are already taking a toll on local businesses.

“It’s certainly going to be a big economic hit for me,” said Patrick Griffin, owner of Patrick’s Pub in Province,

Griffin’s bar was supposed to be the headquarters for the Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Now that the parade is postponed, his biggest moneymaker of the year is no longer a sure thing.

“It’s absolutely killing me. I don’t even know if we can survive this,” said Griffin.

Restaurants in Federal Hill are also bracing for the postponement of Saint Joseph’s Day.

“On Saint Joseph’s Day, the restaurants are all busy. People come up to the bakeries, get their zeppoles,” said Rick Simone, the executive director of the Federal Commerce Association.

All over the city, restaurants have been feeling ripple effects since the governor called for the cancelation of all events with 250 people or more.

“The Convention Center has postponed a lot of conventions, so I lost every reservation for those large groups next week,” said George Kilborne, the general manager of Camille’s.

On top of the governor’s announcement, restaurants now have to scramble to meet the mayor’s more restrictive cap of 100 patrons.

“What happened today was unexpected for us,” said Simone. “About half our restaurants on the Hill can seat more than 100 guests at a time.”

“It’s going to be bad until this situation corrects itself,” echoed Griffin.

Griffin is also the president of Providence’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade committee. He hopes to reschedule the parade as soon as possible.

“When it’s safe to have it, we’ll plan it,” said Griffin.

In the meantime, restaurants on Federal Hill are trying to get creative to keep revenue flowing. About 20 restaurants have added or expanded their delivery options. For a list of participating restaurants, click here.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Rhode Island