November Front Page News - The Long Winter Ahead

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The Long Winter Ahead

By Jeff Koehler

The 2020 season is officially over and there’s a long winter ahead for the business people and residents of the island thanks to Covid-19.

Usually when the season ends, the post-season, holiday get-togethers begin, but as of now the Heineman Winery Closedown Party, the Harvest Dinner at Tipper’s, the Veterans Dinner at the Senior Center, and the Feather Party events have been cancelled along with  the Recreation Committee-sponsored and holiday favorite, Brunch with Santa, where the jolly man hands out gifts to all the islands’ good little boys and girls.

Islanders usually like to enjoy a little time away from the island in the winter vacationing in some exotic paradise or cruising on a big ocean liner. This year, many are having second thoughts about what to do since the election is upon us and there is still no vaccine for the Coronavirus. Some islanders are in a quandary as far as what to do…find somewhere different and relatively safe to go or simply hunker down in the relative safety of our island isolation.

Put-in-Bay’s students are among those who are attending classes as normal so far this school year. Although precautions are in place, there are still concerns that one infected child or family returning from a trip to the mainland could play havoc at the school and shut down the classrooms.

Put-in-Bay’s seniors are an especially active group and with the Senior Center still closed many of them will miss socializing with each other unless they find alternative ways to get together in a safe environment.

After the holidays, island businesses start preparing for the upcoming season. Island businesses don’t just fling open their doors in the spring and start raking in the cash. It may seem like that to the visitor, but the winter months are used for hiring summer employees, preparing menus, setting calendars, working on events, going to gift and/or food shows, fixing, remodeling, cleaning and more. The winter presents a question: plan for another season dealing with the restrictions of Covid or plan for one that is Covid free? Fortunately, all the island businesses now have the experience of going through one Covid season and hopefully learned some valuable lessons when it comes to dealing with a second one. In either scenario the planning for one is quite a bit different from the other, and preparing for the wrong one will be costly and time consuming.

For the Village of Put-in-Bay, the financial predicament is not a pretty picture. Revenue from the public docks, the bed tax and the gross receipt tax are all down for 2020, yet the expenses are ongoing. Village officials, with the help of local business people are looking into ways of finding additional revenue.

In any case, you can see how this coming winter will be quite a bit different than any winter the islanders have experienced before, but fortunately those of us who are used to the isolation of winter may be a bit more accustomed to it than our mainland counterparts.

Remember, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.


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