The coronavirus takes no prisoners as many establishments had to shut down all over the city of Atlanta. I’ll be honest, the malls closing was one thing, but when the bars and restaurants started closing, I knew things were about to get real!
The food and service industry play a major role in the social and economic dynamic of the city. Many people take to these establishments on the daily to unwind, indulge themselves, or to just be social. The bar and restaurant scene is a big part of what makes the city so vibrant. However, since Covid-19 struck, these industries were amongst those hit the hardest. Thousands of service employees in the city were devastating as they suddenly found themselves without work and with no means to pay their bills.
“Things have been really tight,” said Brian Redmond, bartender at Old Lady Gang restaurant, owned by reality tv star Kandi Burruss. “No one expected this to happen so I wasn’t technically prepared for it. Luckily, I had a small savings to fall back on, but that’s not going to last forever. I know saving lives are most important, but I need something to change… and fast”.
Covid-19 is impacting employees from all levels. We got a chance to speak with Elle, a manager of a popular restaurant in the midtown area who was also laid off due the nationwide pandemic.
“This has been a hard pill to swallow but a needed antidote. During this time of uncertainty, I’ve gotten laid off, didn’t know when I was getting paid whether from my job or unemployment and had to figure out when or how bills were going to get paid”.
There are organizations like The Giving Kitchen, a non-profit organization that provides support to food service workers during crisis, that have stepped in to help and provide various forms of aid during these trying times.
The mayor Keisha Lance bottom sprang into action and passed a law making it legal to take alcoholic drinks To Go in an effort to assist many business owners.
The CDC recommended that all establishments use online shopping for customers to place orders to minimize people gathering in public areas. Without a clear directive to stay open or shut down, business owners have been responding in different ways. For some establishments like Juicy Crab this online method worked as many implemented a carry out or pick up only policy to their customers.
Other restaurant owners had to face harsh realities as they made the decision to close their doors until the coast is clear and they can open back up for business.