The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the life of a landmark Pocono restaurant on Route 611, one day after industry officials warned legislators that state-ordered limitations on how many customers can dine inside at one time was strangling the life out of restaurants.
The owners of the inn, which was a stagecoach stop in the 1830s, the Jakubowitz family, blamed the restrictions that were put in place beginning in March to curb the spread of the virus as the cause of death for the Tannersville Inn.
“Sadly the inn will not be able to reopen its doors to the public,” a posting Wednesday on the inn’s Facebook page said.
Sadly, the Inn will not be able to reopen its doors to the public. With continuing restrictions limiting capacity...Posted by Tannersville Inn onWednesday, July 29, 2020
“With continuing restrictions limiting capacity including bar service, entertainment, groups and parties for birthdays, showers, rehearsals and more, there is no clear path to the bottom line let alone recover losses suffered to date.”
The tourist industry in the Poconos, a multi-billion dollar behemoth that includes restaurants and bars, has been hammered by the virus and the steps government has taken to contain it that started with a virtual lockdown of the economy more than four months ago and was tweaked recently by Gov. Tom Wolf in a move that limited the number of customers permitted inside a restaurant to 25% of its normal capacity.
At a hearing Tuesday in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association and others said the government’s moves were a formula for killing restaurants across the state.
John Longstreet, president and CEO of the association, warned lawmakers that thousands of restaurants would not reopen because of the 25% rule, saying, there was no way restaurants “can survive that level of occupancy.” He predicted 7,500 restaurants would go under.
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, who was unable to attend Tuesday’s hearing, defended the mitigation efforts targeting the restaurant industry in a written statement.
“Overall, the risk for transmission at these locations is widely recognized, and when communities that have increasing case counts are permitted to continue to congregate at these locations, increased community transmission is almost certain to follow,” Levine said in her statement. “Limiting places where congregation occurs and masking is impossible (while eating and drinking) is a logical step to prevent further spread in a community and may be especially effective early in community increase.”
The Jakubowitz family has spent decades running the Tannersville Inn, which traces its origins to a log cabin in 1831. In 1847, the building and 98 acres became Manasseh Miller’s Hotel.
A former Philadelphia cop, Steven Jakubowitz Jr., bought the place in 1971 and spent the next 35 years running it while burnishing his reputation as a true Pocono character who was well-known in the arts and entertainment world.
He liked to tell people he was the grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Stroudsburg 20 years ago, making him the first Lithuanian to be grand marshal of an Irish parade.
He died in 2007 but his wife and family kept the inn up and running.
Attempts to reach Jakubowitz’s son, Stephen, were unsuccessful. A call to the inn was greeted with a message that the line had been disconnected.