Virus Fallout Continues


Fallout is mounting from the virus, from business to sports.

“Since we are forced to close our taproom and new event center until the end of March, we had to tell our 14 part-time employees that we have no work for them,” said Craig Neuzil, owner of PIVO Brewery & Blepta Studios. “Until the closure of bars and restaurants is lifted, we have changed our hours to Monday-Saturday, 11am-6pm for carry out only. We hope to make some money on beer and food sales to go, but we're anticipating a very large decrease in cash flow. Maybe everyone will be extra thirsty in April and we'll make up some of the losses from this month, but we definitely expect to have a severe income loss this month.”

Businesses from The Fort in Fort Atkinson to The Zipper in Festina announced by Facebook they were going to carry-out only.

“The Greater Area Pantry is open,” said Joane Roney, a member of the board.  “Changes have been made.  Shopping in the pantry is not happening at this time.  Clients will receive pre bagged food that will be delivered to their vehicle.  This is for clients protection and that of our volunteers.”

Right now, volunteers are being sought to bring bags to vehicles.

Sports have been hit with South Winneshiek cancelling youth soccer outright for the spring.

A track and field event that had been scheduled Sunday, April 26 is being postponed with a possibility of rescheduling for May or June.

The real possibility of an entire spring sports season being called off loomed over the area.

Coaches were not allowed to meet with students, and facilities were closed for student use.

That had Kevin Kearney, a South Winneshiek track coach, posting suggestions that students could voluntarily follow to stay in shape.

Meanwhile, internet service providers were facing the prospect of increased use of their services.

AcenTek announced Wednesday it would offer free internet access to students and teachers until June 1 to those not currently customers.

Internet interest has increased.

“We have been hearing a lot from the schools, so far,” said Sharlene Schobert, a marketing specialist with AcenTek.

“In an effort to offer some assistance in the midst of all the uncertainty that exists right now, we felt it was important to offer internet (within our serving area) for a couple of months for free,” said Schobert. “Giving the families that have children at home internet access, free of charge, would be one small way in which AcenTek can ease some concern.”

With libraries closed, one venue for free internet was curtailed, though Cathy Humpal, director of the Lawler library, announced by Facebook that the public could still access free internet from the library’s parking lot.

Long-term fallout extended to educational testing.

“The safety of students and test center staff is ACT’s top priority,” said a statement on the ACT website. “ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national test date to June 13 across the U.S. in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). All students registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from ACT in the next few days informing them of the postponement and instructions for free rescheduling to June 13 or a future national test date.”