“I have no idea what to expect.” Downtown Mobile businesses hope for sales as Senior Bowl week starts slowly

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — During Senior Bowl week in Mobile, the city’s downtown would usually be busy, but COVID-19 is making a noticeable difference.

Veet’s is a place where fans might catch a glimpse of one of their favorite players, but this year, managers are not sure if they’ll pull in their usual crowds.

An empty seat at Veet’s is usually a rare sight, especially as it gets closer to game day. Manager Gina Jo Previto said, “We’ve been here for 23 years and it’s like clockwork. We know exactly what to do and this is the first year we don’t know how to staff, we don’t know how to stock.” 

Previto told WKRG News 5, even as the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out, business is still slower than usual. She said, “We had a couple people come in. They were wearing their masks. They were really, really scared. I think they’re getting several times a day I heard.”

The Senior Bowl is just the latest blow to businesses downtown. With Mardi Gras parades canceled and the pandemic, Previto said there is just a lot of uncertainty. She said, “I’ve been nauseous all day. My nerves have been shot because this is, this is like our pre-hit for Mardi Gras and it gets all my girls ready for Mardi Gras because we’re like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday it’s packed, we have front bar, back bar, and we’re like, it gets our speed up because we’re, you know that we’re coming out of a not so busy year and it gets all the girls on check for Mardi Gras because it gets your speed, and the guys are so nice. Everybody’s on their best behavior.”

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