March 18, 2020
While you’re working from home or off from school and stuck inside practicing social distancing to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, it’s safe to say that many of you were thinking of getting outside for a bit and going to Rita’s for its annual Free Ice Day on Thursday to honor the start of the spring season.
Well, that free ice you really wanted is going to have to wait a bit, as the Bensalem-based company announced that it’s free ice giveaway to celebrate the first day of spring has been postponed on Thursday due to the COVID-19 outbreak across the country.
“Every March, Rita’s First Day of Spring Free Ice Giveaway brings together thousands of guests for one-of-a-kind treats and a free Italian Ice,” the company said in a statement. “It’s our favorite day of the year, and one that has become a treasured tradition. However, the health of our community and guests is our highest priority, so we are postponing this celebration as a precautionary move.”
“Right now our doors are still open and we’d love nothing more than to be the pick-me-up that brightens your day and serve up treats that put a smile on your face,” the company continued. “We are committed to providing a clean and safe environment for our guests and team members. Please check with your local Rita’s for daily operating hours as it may vary by community.”
In light of the increasing concerns around COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the precautionary risks associated with large gatherings, Rita’s is postponing our annual Free Ice Giveaway to celebrate First Day of Spring. Learn more at: https://t.co/mBfxK1Vbf2 pic.twitter.com/uD8xpNhbGw— Rita's Italian Ice (@RitasItalianIce) March 17, 2020
Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have called for no mass gatherings of 50 or more people in either state, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that events over the next eight weeks be capped at 50 persons.
On Monday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-essential business across the state to shut down for two weeks, but did not enact a curfew.
Some non-essential businesses in New Jersey, including restaurants, are permitted to remain open between 5 a.m. to 8 p.m and keep attendance to no more than 50 people. They also need to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Restaurants and bars must close off dining services after 8 p.m. but can remain open for takeout and delivery.