Portland’s Old Port is usually packed with pedestrians, cars and delivery trucks.
But now, there’s hardly any commercial activity if you take a drive down Commercial Street.
The Old Port is mostly made up of small businesses. Most of them have either closed or reduced their business to take out services.
Cathy Rasco, owner of Arabica Coffee, closed before Gov. Janet Mills ordered nonessential businesses to do so, out of concerns for her staff’s health.
“I’m afraid of going out of business,” Rasco said. “I’ve been in business for 25 years. I’ve survived so many things. Nothing like this.”
Her only source of revenue is delivering bags of roasted coffee beans to online customers. Only 2 of her 27 employees are still on the payroll to deliver the coffee beans, and she can only hire them one week at a time.
At Arcadia National Bar, the video game and pinball machines have been dark for 10 days.
“We want to be able to hire everybody when we open back up, but the question is, ‘When are we allowed to reopen?’ Nobody knows,” said owner Dave Aceto.
Aceto said one positive development: His landlord is waiving rent, for now.
“It was a very casual conversation with our landlord. It was just like, ‘Hey, we can’t be open.’ And he said, you know, ‘Just don’t pay rent this month, and we’ll talk about it as it goes,” Aceto said.
Meanwhile, Rasco has already applied for newly-offered federal and state small business loans.
“It’s my intention to keep this business going however I can,” Rasco said.