Tree plantings, school field trips, citizen oyster restoration activities and the region’s largest litter cleanup event are all being postponed or altered as environmental groups struggle with the sweeping disruptions.Bay Journal, Chesapeake seafood industry suffers as coronavirus closes restaurants
“We’re in uncharted territory,” said Willy Agee, vice president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, as his group, as well as the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, have been forced to delay environmental field work.
Watermen say they’ve given up on the final weeks of the oyster season, as restaurant and raw bar closures have deprived them of lucrative markets for their catch.I doubt WuFlu will restore the Chesapeake Bay oyster population, but having the market dry up for a while won't hurt.
“It’s very drastic,” said Robert T. Brown Sr., president of the Maryland Watermen’s Association. “I’ve seen things bad, but I’ve never seen them like this before.”
Oyster farmers say they’re idled for the same reason, though some are trying to eke out some direct sales to consumers. Ted Cooney, founder of Madhouse Oysters on Hooper’s Island on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, said sales suddenly stopped at a time when they’re usually selling 100 or more boxes of bivalves every week.
The oyster shutdown extends Baywide, as Maryland and Virginia have both limited food establishments to takeout or delivery.
“With no restaurants, there are no sales,” said Mike Oesterling, executive director of the Virginia Shellfish Growers Association. “The industry is pretty much at a standstill right now.”