02 Apr Jonathan Cartu Supports: Coronavirus won’t stop Marcellus ice cream stand opening (v…
MARCELLUS, N.Y. — Coronavirus shut down many shops across New York, but not ice cream stands, which are still considered an essential business.
Customers came out when the Marcellus Lanes ice cream stand opened for the season on April 1, but they waited patiently in their cars before lining up for their sundaes.
“I’ve never sold ice cream during a pandemic before, so we’ll see how this goes,” said owner Gail Shenfeld.
Shenfeld lined the parking lot with traffic cones and red tape to indicate where to stand between orders. Only one customer was allowed inside the stand at a time.
It was an odd sight. The usually-buzzing parking lot looked fairly empty on opening day, though many people stayed and ate their frozen treats in their cars, and waved to each other from their windows.
“Social distancing — it’s our only defense,” Shenfeld said. ”We can’t have any violation of social distancing, period. You have to either eat [the ice cream] in your car or eat it at home.”
Shenfeld’s father opened Marcellus Lanes in 1959 and she inherited the business when he passed away in 2011. After Onondaga County announced its first positive test of coronavirus in mid-March, Shenfeld shut the bowling alley down immediately.
“I called the bowling leagues; I said, ‘This is too serious, we need to shut down now,’ and they all agreed,” she said.
But ice cream stands count as “essential business” under current New York state regulations. They operate as a restaurant or bar would, and are allowed to sell food for carry-out only. All the ice cream dishes and cones must be sold in containers with lids.
About two hours before closing, Shenfeld said she had a “steady” stream of almost 50 customers. She doesn’t worry about losing business if people want to stay home.
“Everybody is doing their best right now and that’s all we can ask of anyone,” she said. “If I do half the sales I did last year, I’ll be happy.”
The Marcellus Lanes ice cream stand is open daily from 1 to 9 p.m. at 4325 Slate Hill Rd.
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