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Charleston CVB Helping Businesses Affected By Water Crisis

Reported: Feb. 11, 2014 5:24 AM EST
Updated: Feb. 11, 2014 8:41 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katelyn Sykes) -- The water crisis caused an economic shutdown in the tourism industry in the Kanawha Valley as hotels and restaurants were forced to close their doors due to contaminated water.

But now the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau is trying to help these businesses bounce back and move through this recovery period.

To help share the message of how the tourism industry responded to the crisis and what steps are being taken to recover, the CVB has initiated a series of testimonial videos. Each video will tell the story of how the business responded to the challenge and what it is doing to combat the issue.

The first video in the series features Paterno's at the Park. Nikki Paterno, owner, said on the day of the spill she turned her TV and saw the do-no- use order issued by West Virginia American Water and immediately thought about her restaurant.

"I had no idea what to do," she said. "I called down here and got my manager and I said you have to stop serving. There's been a cease of all use of water in every way, shape and form and we had customers actually dining at the time and had to ask them to leave."

Paterno said in the days after the spill, the restaurant followed all of the procedures set by the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department to get back open, including cleaning the entire store and flushing the systems.

"We use Coke products and they had to come and flush the system themselves," she said.

Now that the restaurant is back open, Paterno said it's still doing everything with bottled water, including cooking and washing produce and dishes, and going through about 50 gallons of bottled water a day. Every three days, Paterno said she orders a thousand pounds of ice to be delivered to her restaurant, and she wants her customers to know her staff wants customers to be safe.

"We're making it safe for them to come out because we are Charlestonians ourselves, and we want to go out to eat as well and we want people to do the same thing we're doing for them," she said.

The videos are then uploaded to YouTube and also are found on the CVB's website.

To check out the first video on Paterno's At The Park, go here.



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