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'Fear of the unknown:' Restaurants, bars react to impact of coronavirus

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- County Clare Irish Inn & Pub was open Monday night, but they canceled all St. Patrick's Day events.

The CEO of the hospitality group that runs County Clare and several Irish bars around the state says that will make a big impact. He said they bring in more than $200,000 on St. Patrick's Day. 

He says so far, the coronavirus has not yet impacted their ability to pay their employees, but moving forward it will severely impact their ability to keep people fully employed. 

They were prepared to hear that bars and restaurants will be closed -- a decision made by officials Monday night and affecting 11 Milwaukee County municipalities. 

The owner at McBob's on North Avenue said they cut staff by 50 percent ahead of St. Patrick's Day, a day he described as huge for their bar. 

One suggestion for how to help local bars and restaurants is to buy gift cards.

"If you'd normally go out to a fish fry this Friday and you aren't going to, go buy that amount and then when the dust is settled, go use the gift card," said Dennis Radtke, CEO or Harp and Eagle. "A lot of these local businesses cannot withstand being closed for a month."

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