Last year, nearly 40,000 people from all over the country came to the Groundhog Day ceremony but with next year’s ceremony going virtual, business owners said it’ll have an impact on their businesses.
“One of the great things about having a business in Punxsutawney is Groundhog Day because Jan/Feb that’s your slow season and to get that boost in sales is really a blessing to any business,” said Scott Anthony, owner of Punxsy Pizza.
Last year on Groundhog Day, Scott Anthony said they more than doubled their sales for the week.
Of course, it fell on a weekend so that helped them out but he expects to see a hit with next year’s virtual ceremony.
“It will take a hit on the business granted it is during the week this year so it wouldn’t be as busy as it was last year but it’s still a big boost,” he said.
The Inner Circle made the decision yesterday to hold the Groundhog Day ceremony without any in person visitors.
“The way things are going with the pandemic I do think the Groundhog Club in a way did people in the hospitality industry a favor because it’s very challenging even now for business owners who are in a position to enforce all of these mandates of social distancing and mask wearing,” said Anthony.
Marlene Lellock, Executive Director for the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center, said Groundhog Day draws tourists from all over to her museum.
But she too believes this was the best decision in light of COVID-19.
“The groundhog club had a hard decision to make and they had to make it now because people come from all over the country to Groundhog day and they plan well in advance,” she said.
She said she doesn’t expect the year’s virtual ceremony to have a huge impact on her business.
“Groundhog day will fall on a Tuesday which is traditionally the lowest attended day of the week for Groundhog day so it’s not going to hurt as much as if Groundhog day would’ve been on a Saturday and we’ll lost all of those visitors,” said Lellock.
Next year’s virtually ceremony will be broadcasted on the official Punxsutawney Groundhog website.