BANGOR, Maine — At the Union Street Laundromat in Bangor, one of owner Joe Savoy’s employees wipes down a pair of scissors and then a phone with Clorox wipes because of coronavirus fears. Standing on the opposite side of the counter, Savoy smiles, nodding – and noting that for his business, this is normal behavior.

As concerns about coronavirus ramp up across Maine, Savoy is proud of what he calls his high standards for cleanliness at his laundromat. Everything a customer touches – from the coin machine to machine lids – is wiped down regularly, a procedure now more important than perhaps ever before.

“My wife, she’s a stickler for these things – and back when cold and flu season began, we wiped down everything in here with Clorox wipes all day, every day,” Savoy told NEWS CENTER Maine Monday afternoon, learning against a standby washing machine.

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Savoy says he is not yet nervous about how coronavirus may impact business, since he is sure his community recognizes the hard work of his employees. After all, laundry has never exactly been a germ-free ordeal.

“You never know what people are bringing in when people are sick,” Savoy exclaimed. “They take their comforters to the laundromat and clean them – so, you never know.”

Across town at Sea Dog Brewing Co. by the river, new measures are going into place to ensure the cleanliness of the restaurant and safety of guests and employees.

“We’re going over it with the staff,” Kelsi Crockett, the assistant manager of the Bangor location, said. “On top of our normal cleaning procedures, we’ve been taking more steps to make sure everything is more clean.”

Those steps includes initiatives like using disposable paper menus and keeping tables at a safe social distance apart – which, per CDC requirements, is six feet.

The restaurant has also had to take steps to get creative to keep business coming in, even if guests don’t necessarily want to.

“If people feel more safe being in their own vehicles, we now offer serve curbside pick-up, so all they have to do is call, and we can bring out their food for them,” Crockett explained.

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The city of Bangor is making an effort to support these businesses, despite a difficult reality.

“I think one of the challenges that we have is that things are changing so quickly” Tanya Emery, the Director of Community and Economic Development in Bangor. “I mean, literally from hour to hour – and we’re getting new information. We’re getting new resources.”

Bangor is implementing a civil state of emergency for five days, effective Tuesday, March 17. That means that all restaurants, bars, and gathering places will be required to close from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Governor Janet Mills is urging restaurants and bars to close for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but at this point, she has not yet decided to close restaurants or bars statewide.

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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