Restaurants, bars create employee assistance funds after dine-in ban

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana’s restaurants and bars are trying to get a grip on their new reality: Life without dine-in services. Some owners are trying to relieve pressure off their workers by creating employee assistance funds.

It’s day two of Indiana Governor Holcomb’s new coronavirus outbreak directive, which only allows restaurants and bars to provide carry-out and delivery services.

With no dine-in customers, these establishments are losing serious revenue and workers are losing pay fast.

The owner of seafood restaurant Umi has created an employee assistance fund with $15,000 and is donating 10 percent of all carry-out orders to this fund until further notice.

“We know our employees are very vulnerable, as with most restaurant and hospitality businesses,” said owner Tiercell Schwartz. “We just thought this would be the right thing to do for our staff.”

The 07 Pub is donating 100 percent of carry-out sales to their employee assistance fund.

“At the end of the day, we want to make sure we’re taking care of our people and if that’s what we have to do in this time then that’s what we’re going to do here at the 07 Pub,” said owner Mark Spillson.

To draw in more carryout and delivery sales and help the community, Sara’s Family Restaurant is offering family style meals at discounted sales.

“Our boss is kind and trying to give us as many hours as he can and trying to keep our families afloat, but he can only do as much as he can do,” said assistant manager Nicole Cutchin. “So we really need the public’s help coming in and supporting the local businesses around Fort Wayne and in turn, we’re trying to do some deals for them and help them out as well.”

These restaurants and bars are trying to stay optimistic in these trying times. Their businesses will completely close if they don’t make enough sales off carryout and delivery options.

“All I can hope for is this dine-in ban gets lifted soon and everybody can get back to normal and just stay safe and everybody just come together as Americans and we’ll all get through it,” Cutchin said.

The community’s restaurant and bar owners said they have no choice but to take this situation day by day.

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