COVID impacts Super Bowl business

Published 6:00 am Friday, February 5, 2021

Super Bowl LV will be a different big game from the one people have become familiar with because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The impact will be seen in the smaller size of the crowd allowed into Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, where the game will be played, and the impact will also be felt in some practical ways right here in Farmville.

Some restaurants that are able to host large watch parties either will not do so this year or will do so while observing COVID-19 restrictions that will limit the size of the party.

WayFast Delivery is expecting to have a particularly busy day.

“Compared to last year’s Super Bowl, we’re predicting probably around a 50% increase,” WayFast Delivery owner Jacob Jamerson said. “Generally on a Friday and Saturday, we have around 10 to 12 drivers, so we’re probably going to have around 14 drivers probably going on Sunday.”

The game begins at 6:30 p.m., but he said the busy part of the day for WayFast begins essentially around 1 p.m. And aside from the convenience, he highlighted a special incentive for people to use the service.

“We’re going to have exclusive WayFast Delivery specials that you can only get through us,” he said.

One location in Farmville that is still expecting to draw a significant crowd is Buffalo Wild Wings on South Main Street.

Johnny Bechtel, the restaurant’s assistant general manager, said most of the time on Super Bowl Sundays his location is busy all day long, and a good amount of money is made.

“This year, as far as how we go, there’s absolutely no change besides the fact that I can’t seat as many people as I could last year due to the COVID-19 regulations and whatnot,” he said.

Like most places in Farmville, seating will be at 50% capacity, and masks will be required of everyone at all times, except for customers when they are seated at their tables.

“As far as specials or anything like that go, say that you want to get 150 wings and you wanted them ready for the Super Bowl, if you pre-order your wings, you’ll get free wings next time you come into the store,” he said. “If it goes into overtime, you’ll get six traditional or six boneless wings. Everybody in the store at that time will get some free wings.”

He advised people to get to the restaurant early.

“Because I imagine once, I would say, three, four o’clock hits, people are going to start coming in, and they’re going to want to sit for the entire game,” he said. “So after the game starts, I doubt if I’ll be able to seat anybody else.”

Three Roads Brewing Company, located on West Third Street in Farmville, has adapted to the COVID-impacted landscape of Super Bowl Sunday by highlighting to-go options.

Miles Sadler, sales and branding manager with Three Roads Brewing, said the company is in a unique position to help support itself but also promote customers safely staying in their homes by offering to-go beers.

“While we’re not a sports bar, (we) have TVs, and in days past, people would gather and kind of watch the game together,” he said. “We would have that sense of community that we strive to perpetuate, but that’s not the case now.”

To keep customers and the taproom safe, he said Three Roads Brewing will not be inviting large watch parties. However, on Monday, Feb. 1, the company started promoting that it has its specialty beers in 32-ounce cans and that it has four packs of its flagship beers. The flagships are also available in 16-ounce cans.

To pick up the to-go beers, he said that with masks on, customers will simply enter the taproom, where everything is being completely and continuously cleaned. They will go to the fridge, pick their favorite and check out.

“So you’re going to be able to bring Three Roads into your living room where you can safely watch the game, and that’s kind of our take on things,” Sadler said. “We’re happy to be able to provide that ability, and we’re just excited to contribute to some sense of normalcy for this football season and the Super Bowl.”

The Fishin’ Pig owner Matt Hurley said his restaurant will be welcoming Super Bowl viewers, with COVID regulations observed, including 50% seating and masking.

“We will be having a Super Bowl promotion,” he said.

He said there will be food and beverage specials essentially all day long.

“We actually have some beverage specials that go with the game,” he said. “So let’s just say there’s a touchdown by the Chiefs. There’ll be a certain beverage on special for five minutes after that play. If there’s a fumble, there’s an interception, we have flyers on the all tables, and pretty much almost any kind of play that happens, we’ll have a beverage special during that time frame.”

There will also be free raffle drawings throughout the game, with one of the prizes being a big, flatscreen TV.

Nash Osborn, owner of North Street Press Club, said the Press Club will not be doing a big promotion, but it would be doing giveaways and some specials, while continuing to observe COVID regulations.

“We’re running our Thirsty Thursday specials and our Wing Wednesday specials on Sunday,” he said. “And our food specials, our wing specials, are going to be available in-house or to go.”

Things will be notably different at Macado’s this year.

Assistant Manager Sam Andrews said that while the restaurant will open at 8 a.m. Sunday and will have a carry-out special for 30 traditional bone-in wings or 40 boneless wings, the business will close at 5 p.m. for renovations.