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Restaurant owners, workers trying to weather the financial storm of coronavirus

HOUSTON – It wasn’t a “goodbye” message. More of a “hope to see you when this pandemic is over.”

Barry Childers of Barry’s Pizza, along with his general manager, posted a video message on Facebook this past weekend, to announce his restaurant in southwest Houston was going into hibernation to weather the economic storm inflicted by the coronavirus. After nearly four decades of work it wasn’t an easy decision.

“It’s 37 years of my life,” Childers said. “My entire adult career has been Barry’s Pizza, so stopping that even temporarily is difficult.”

The restaurant tried curbside delivery for a couple of weeks. They didn't have enough hours for their workers and realized it wasn't feasible.

"There's a lot that goes into a full-service restaurant that we're not using right now," said general manager Shawna Heflin. "And we don't have the sales to justify it being there."

Just one example of thousands of cases -- business owners navigating a financial fight against a deadly and costly enemy. Their employees are facing tough times as well.

"It's definitely bad for me," said Taylor Syers of Seabrook.

Syers was laid off from her job as a bartender. She had worked there for three years and the day after she received a promotion and a raise -- the hotel she worked at had to shudder its doors. The 22-year-old has cancelled unnecessary bills and filed for unemployment. She said she’s also reached out to her apartment’s managers to make sure she can stay in that apartment long enough to get back on her feet.

"If they could at least reduce it or at least extend it," Syers said. "Just because if I do get unemployment I'll have a few more extra days to wait for my unemployment to come in. If I do get approved."

KPRC 2 spoke to the vice president of the company that manages Syers’ apartment complex and she assured us they are empathetic and would not be pursuing evictions at this time. Besides the state supreme court passed an emergency order suspending all evictions until April 19. So you can’t get kicked out of your home and no eviction court cases will move ahead.

Landlords can file those cases but right now they are not being heard.


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