Local restaurants call on Congress to pass virus relief: ‘They continue to fiddle while restaurants burn’

Published: Dec. 7, 2020 at 8:53 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Many small businesses are feeling the financial strain of the pandemic. Restaurants are among those looking for a lifeline.

Jeff Good co-owns and operates Bravo, Broad Street and Sal and Mookie’s. He says catering is what first started taking a hit in the spring before the shutdown. Now the few bookings they had are being canceled.

“It’s almost like déjà vu all over again,” explained Jeff Good. He says they’ve come up with new options to boost takeout, but his three restaurants still have overhead in buildings designed for dine-in.

“We’ve lost 1/3 of our overall revenue between catering and dine-in,” he said.

The Paycheck Protection Program helped them get back on their feet with rehiring workers after the shutdown. But looking forward...

“If I have to let my people go a second time, I truly do not know how through that trauma both on their side and my side… I don’t know how we would re-gen this again.”

That’s why he’s urging Congress to pass the RESTAURANTS Act that would include targeted help for local restaurants that really need it.

“Do that and I think we can survive,” said Good. “Don’t do it, and I really don’t know what’s gonna happen.”

But some restaurateurs are skeptical about getting that help.

“They continue to fiddle while restaurants burn,” said Mitchell Moore who owns Campbell’s Bakery and Campbell’s Craft Donuts. The reduced sales forced a tough decision last week.

“We realized we were not going to have a good December and it was time to close the Madison location for good,” explained Moore.

They went from nearly $19,000 worth of sales at the two bakery locations in the first week December of 2019 to just $7,700 last week.

“The best way to describe it is robbing from Peter to pay Paul,” added Moore. “There’s a pot of money and bills that we have going out are greater than what that pot of money.”

Moore is calling on the public to support local restaurants if they want them to survive while hoping that Congress can find a meaningful way to help.

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