By Andrea Alvarez

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Local small business owners are asking for your help in their fight to stay afloat. Small business owner in Pasco County shared his story with the CW44 News At 10 on how the community plays the biggest role.

Captain Curt started his charter fishing business in Pasco County about 18 years ago. “I have a passion for fishing. We used to do a lot of tournaments that kind of lead into the charter business,” said Capt. Curt Romanowski, Owner, Florida Backwater Charters. “Pasco has a lot of good fishing in this area, you know we have a lot of open water, a lot of coast line,” said Romanowski. 

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Credit: Curt Romanowski | CW44 News At 10

But on March 12, 2020, Pasco County officials declared a Local State of Emergency to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Romanowski and other business owners braced for impact knowing business would be affected.  “When it first hit, things slow down a little bit just because it’s new to everybody. Nobody knew what was going on.” 

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Luckily for Captain Curt being out in the open and on water wasn’t restricted and could be done safely. “The boats we fish out of your only putting up to four people on a boat, but you’re out on the water, out on the open so it’s a way for people to get away from the chaos that’s going on and it’s one of the few things you can do,” said Romanowski.

But Tuesday, Pasco County officials announced a second large spike in cases is heavily impacting the county. “Pasco County has the highest positivity rate in the region. At this rate we could double our total cases from 16,000 To 32,000 in the next three months… that’s startling,” said Spokesperson for the Department of Health in Pasco County.

Captain Curt says he hasn’t felt any major impact of the second spike but anticipates anything is possible. “Who knows what’s going to happen in the next month or two. I’ll work with whatever cards I’m dealt,” said Romanowski. He says it’s a business you handle day by day in hopes that the phone keeps ringing. Meanwhile, he’s asking for your help to keep an existing Pasco County community. “We need to support the local businesses, because without supporting the local businesses, the big businesses will eventually pull out of here. You have to support the local guy because that money goes a lot farther inside the community. Big corporate, that money goes out of state. If you want your community to survive, you need to support your local people,” said Romanowski.

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