It’s not hard to recall the public’s mad dash to the grocery store when the government sanctioned a nation-wide quarantine.
People rushed to brace themselves for the brutal impact that the virus was sure to have. For the South Bethlehem community, this feat would prove more difficult because of their majority low-income status. Unfortunately, there are only two major supermarkets in the area.
CTown Supermarkets is a supermarket chain that sells groceries and a variety of other merchandise. The CTwon on 230 E 3rd St is one of the two that provides the community with easy access to their bare necessities.
Bethlehem’s CTown was no exception to the mad dash.
“We were getting less produce and a lot of customers,” said a CTown employee who wished to remain unidentified. She stood next to the spice rack, shaking her head.
That was in April. Essential workers were being exhausted, customers were forming lines outside doors, and tragedy was striking. And now?
“Now it’s better,” said the CTown employee. “The merchandise is received every week.”
The shelves are fully restocked and the produce is fresh and in abundance.
“Everything is coming to the store and we’re trying to get on our feet again with the prices and everything,” said the CTown employee. But now CTown faces a different set of challenges. They had an influx of product but a shortage of customers.
“At first it was so bad, we didn’t have many customers, we had to call them back in, let them know we have everything again and we’re set up like before,” said the CTown employee.
The rise in customer attendance can logically be linked to the return of students to the Lehigh University campus and surrounding residences. South Bethlehem is a sort of university town and the students fuel many of the local businesses. Even so, CTown was still trying to draw out their regular customer base. However, with the rising cases on the university’s campus could spell more trouble for the surrounding Southside community.
The rising spread can be linked to the persistence of off-campus parties. Students, despite warning from the university, continue to hold parties well over the ten person maximum restriction. If the university doesn’t get a handle on what looks like a looming outbreak, it could spread to the surrounding community. CTown might find itself in the same situation as they were in April, or even worse.