Created: March 17, 2020 10:01 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.– It is no secret that local restaurants and bars are taking a hit due to the recent public health order that imposes restrictions on guest occupancy. Although the order does not completely close businesses, for some restaurants and bars—closing is unavoidable.
Wayne Moore oversees bistro operations for Lescombes Winery’s five locations, but for the past week there has not been much for him to oversee. Moore said business has dropped by 50%.
“We've laid off over a third of our staff in the five locations,” he said. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve let people go, and that’s terrible, no matter what the circumstance, but when you’re laying off great employees just simply because of something they didn’t do, or we didn’t do, and trying to rationalize that when you yourself don’t understand is…it’s painful.”
Moore said their chairs get harder to fill every day.
“I want to be able to cook food for the employees that we laid off. I’ve got single mothers crying saying 'How am I going to feed my kids this weekend?' I care more about that than I do—we don’t have a bottom line right now,” Wayne said.
Lescombes is encouraging customers to take advantage of their take-out option.
“This is us going 'How do we stay open?’” said Moore. “This is our whole livelihood.”
Moore said they’re offering 50% discounts to first responders and hospital staff, and soon even more.
“Trying to be in tune with what our guests are needing. We will soon be offering a top ten kind of grocery list, if you will, of your needs—milk, rice, hopefully toilet paper.”
State officials announced Tuesday they’ve secured disaster loan assistance, $2 million for small businesses.
But will it be too late by the time it gets here? Carla Sonntag President of New Mexico Business Coalition said for some businesses, maybe.
“As far as other relief, we're at a loss as far as what to do to really help this. I think there has been a really aggressive response to this virus and it’s anybody’s opinion about whether it’s been too strong or not, but I am very concerned about our business and state of New Mexico’s economy moving forward,” said Sonntag. “We’ve got to be cognizant of that. It is going to be hard to get relief to all the businesses that we need.”
Business at Lescombes is unfortunately just a drop in the bucket. Zendo Coffee downtown closed its doors and let go of some employees, Bosque Brewing temporarily closed, and so has Boese Brothers Brewing.
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