A manager at a Red Deer sports bar says businesses will be affected by the suspension of the NHL and NBA seasons, due to COVID-19. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS

Suspension of NHL, NBA seasons to impact sports bars, says manager of Red Deer business

The coronavirus’s impact on the sports world will affect more than just athletes, says a manager at a Red Deer bar.

The National Hockey League announced it would pause the season Thursday, just one day after the National Basketball Association announced it would suspend its season, due to COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.

Sports bars will be hurt by this, “especially with the hockey, and the (Edmonton) Oilers and (Calgary) Flames being in playoff position,” said Dylan Handfield, Canadian Brewhouse bar manager.

“We’re going to try to get some events going so we don’t miss out on the opportunities that we’ll miss out on with sports seasons being suspended.”

Handfield said he spoke with another individual in the bar and restaurant industry, who said they expect to see a 20 to 30 per cent decrease in sales due to the lack of sports.

The NHL and NBA playoffs are typically some of the busiest events for sports bars, Handfield added.

“It’s sad to see the seasons be suspended, but I know they’ve got to do what they’ve got to do,” he said.

Gary Tarasenco, one of the owners and manager at Cheers Pub, said he’s disappointed the sports seasons are being suspended.

“It’s a scary situation. There are certain dollar figures we do on a daily business, whether there’s sports on television or not. I guess we’ll see over the next week or two how sales are.”

Tarasenco says he doesn’t think the suspension of sports seasons is the biggest concern.

COVID-19 “may scare some people away. For instance I have a big men’s scotch tournament this Saturday and I think we’ve got 14 teams. I heard (another business) cancelled a tournament because of this virus. I don’t know if we’ll get any more teams or if the players scheduled to come out on Saturday are actually going to show. I’m not too sure,” he said.

Chelsey Jacobs, Original Joe’s Restaurant and Bar managing partner, said the suspensions of the two major sports league isn’t too concerning for her business.

“I don’t think we’ll lose any business over it. Not many people come here specifically for the sports – it’s an added bonus when they are here. I don’t think this will keep people aways,” said Jacobs.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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