COVID-19 impacting horse drawn carriage business in Downtown Indianapolis

Posted at 10:00 PM, Mar 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 14:24:03-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Small businesses that rely on tourism are taking a hit as travel to the Circle City slows down due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Usually, carriages can be spotted from Monument Circle, but the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing down business. Instead of pulling a wagon full of tourists like they typically do on a Sunday afternoon, these horses were grazing in a pasture.

The constant click of hooves on the cobblestone can't be heard downtown right now because of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people to avoid crowds. This, however, is impacting the horse-drawn carriage businesses in a major way.

"Some of the other companies have full-time drivers who depend on that income for their livelihood," Gene Henry, owner of County Carriage Company, said. "50 percent of our business is locals, and 50 percent are people coming in to visit traveling through the city or tourists."

But since events are being canceled at every turn, Henry says his company is suffering. Locals just aren't coming out, and the company has expenses, and no one is linking up for carriage rides.

"Everyone is afraid to be around crowds," Henry said.

Henry says his company has been keeping carriages disinfected and ready for riders. At this point, he's even offering a discount if customers mention the virus.