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Roanoke businesses face difficult decisions on Halloween parties

The decisions have physical and financial health on the line

ROANOKE, Va. – In a year full of fright, Halloween is presenting a new predicament: to party during a pandemic or not.

“It’s a financial windfall that we could really use that we’re not going to get but at the end of the day, it’s just not worth it,” said Jason Martin, general manager of Martin’s.

The restaurant called off its annual street party days in advance and Martin said he’s just one of the employees who came down with COVID in the last couple weeks.

“The big event just felt too big for right now and the right thing, it just felt like the right thing to do was just kind of pull back,” Martin said.

They’re not alone. Fork in the Market has also canceled Halloween festivities, but others are making a different decision.

“We wrestled with it and knock on wood, everything up-to-date has been pretty successful,” said Bryan Summerson, president of Big Lick Brewing Company.

Big Lick Brewing Company is still celebrating Halloween thanks to outdoor space and guidelines they’ve been enforcing for months.

“We hired someone to be our police to kind of watch everybody to make sure people are socially distancing and following the rules,” Summerson said.

Big Lick Entertainment in conjunction with the Berglund Center is also implementing strict policies to keep its outdoor celebration safe.

“We knew that the best way to do it was to go well above and beyond what the actual recommendations are. We don’t have to check your temperature, we are. We’re doing masks on anyone nine years old and up. We’re spacing out so much,” said JD Sutphin, owner and creative director of Big Lick Entertainment.

For businesses, it’s a tough decision with physical and financial health on the line.

“Show respect, think about the fact that we really are all in this together,” Sutphin said.

Corned Beef and Co. is also still throwing a Halloween celebration.


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