Coronavirus pandemic stops tourism town


MONTOUR FALLS, N.Y (WETM) – COVID-19 has forced New York to shut down all non-essential businesses in hopes to flatten the curve. So businesses that rely on tourism might not make it.

Make Patel has owned The Falls Motel for nine years, but if he can’t get guests to stay in his lodging, he might have to close up.

“It’s bad of course, it’s scary, I don’t know if I will be in business in a couple of months or not, I don’t know, but it is scary,” Patel said. “Not only for me but all of the small industry people, it is scary for everyone.”

People are calling to cancel their reservation made for months from now.

“July we got a lot of cancelations and actually the main business in this area and Watkins Glen area, the International Race Track, they canceled all the events,” Patel explained. “Season is done.”

Weddings in the area also bring him a lot of lodgers and now, they have been canceling as well.

“After May we had a lot of reservations for the weddings, wedding group, and they canceled also,” Patel said.

But he wouldn’t dream of charging for the cancellations, even though his business could use the extra income.

“Of course we don’t charge, our whole country is in trouble, everybody is in trouble why would we charge them,” Patel said.

Patel says the best-case scenario for him would be able to take out a loan to pay his bills.

“We would have to borrow the money, a lot of money, from the private lender to pay the bank because the bank is not going to cancel the loan and the same thing from the property tax, they are not going to be like ‘Hey you don’t have to pay this, you’re done,’ Patel said. “We have to pay them.”

But Patel’s message to the community was not about his business but a plea for people to stay healthy.

“I know that this is panic for everyone but just stay safe, stay inside the home, don’t go outside without any special reason, and stay safe with your family,” Patel shared.

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