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UMaine Homecoming goes online, causing concerns for Orono businesses

Common Loon and Orono Brewing Company say it’s hard not to see the influx of people they normally would on Homecoming weekend.
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 6:05 PM EDT
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ORONO, Maine (WABI) - It’s no secret University of Maine students in Orono generate money for local businesses.

However, a lot of the school’s big in-person events have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

From St. Patricks Day and graduation to now homecoming - businesses are feeling the pressure.

The Co-Owner of Common Loon reacts to UMaine going virtual with homecoming in 2020.
The Co-Owner of Common Loon reacts to UMaine going virtual with homecoming in 2020.(WABI)

Usually, on homecoming weekend, Common Loon and Orono Brewing Company are packed with people.

Orono Brewing Company's General Manager says homecoming usually brings in a big crowd.
Orono Brewing Company's General Manager says homecoming usually brings in a big crowd.(WABI)

Both businesses say it’s hard not to see the influx of people they normally would this weekend, but agree safety is more important.

Cody Gardner, Common Loon Owner, said, “We are happy to follow the rules and we think that it is what should be done. It makes it very hard to run a business. I wouldn’t have wanted 1,000 alumni from out of state showing up at my restaurant this weekend. I’m not surprised there’s not a homecoming. I wouldn’t have really wanted a homecoming. The financial realities are scary."

“UMaine going virtual is a shot in the arm for a lot of us because of the fact that we are businesses in Orono," General Manager of Orono Brewing Company, Justin Soderberg, said. He added, "But I know they are doing the best they can to figure out new ways and innovative ways.”

Both Orono Brewing and Common Loon will be open this weekend, along with many other favorite spots in town.

Copyright 2020 WABI. All rights reserved.

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