GREENSBORO, N.C. — It's a conversation David Romero never envisioned a few weeks ago. That's when he had to let 12 of his 16 employees go and cut the hours of those he kept.
One of the best days of the week from a profit standpoint at Poblano’s in Greensboro is Taco Tuesday. The restaurant is crowded for lunch and dinner, “Usual on Tuesday, Taco Tuesday we do really good, today I don’t think we will do half what we usually do,” said Romero.
Business this past week is off by about 70-percent at the restaurant. The seating area is closed and only take out or delivery is being offered, “We hope people still support us even though they can’t come sit down,” said Romero.
The restaurant has been around for 15 years and has survived the recession, but this is something like Romero has never seen. He has already laid off 12 employees and has whittled his staff down to just four workers. Those left are also having to sacrifice hours they would usually get, “It’s tough I had a conversation with them the other day and said I can either shut down, there would be no pay for anybody or take extra days off and at least make some money,” said Romero.
This is not the reality Romero wants to continue to live in but for now he and many restaurant owners are struggling to pay the bills. Almost every owner is having to cut staff to survive, “I’ve encouraged them to apply for unemployment because I can’t pay them,” said Romero.
The Governor is making it easier for people impacted to collect unemployment. In the past week more than 122,000 residents applied, compared to an average week when about 3,500 apply, “Our staff is working overtime and on weekends to meet the demand,” said Larry Walker with the NC Department of Commerce Employment Security.
As of now Romero is optimistic, he will be able to survive the economic impact of the Coronavirus but worries about the unknown, “I think we will be okay for now but if it continues to go longer it’s a little bit concerning,” said Romero.
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