Community rallies to support struggling Charlottesville restaurants during COVID-19 outbreak

restaurants get community support

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Community members are stepping up to support struggling Charlottesville restaurants as those businesses choose to shut their doors “indefinitely,” or remain open for as long as they can.

“Restaurants are in serious danger,” Charlottesville 29 Simon Davidson said. “Margins are so thin that many are wonder if they’re gonna go out of business because of this crisis.”

For many, the coronavirus outbreak is like a punch in the gut.

“When somebody comes in, instead of greeting them like, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ We now say, ‘How do you feel?’” Chaps Owner Tony LaBua said.

“I’ve heard from a lot of restaurants that they believe that some of their temporary closures could become permanent," Davidson said.

Davidson is encouraging people to buy gift cards at various restaurants and order takeout while also practicing social distancing.

“The idea is buy gift cards now, inject some cash flow into restaurants, and then you can enjoy those meals later,” he said.

Another community member, Kate Ellwood, is also helping out. She’s started a GoFundMe page to support some of those being hit hardest.

“This was set up more for like the tip to the servers, the bartenders, and line cooks, and low-wage hourly workers,” Ellwood said.

The goal is to provide at least $200 to workers in desperate need.

“These people, I can’t express like how much in need they are, and I’ve cried like reading their stories,” she said.

Ellwood hopes to distribute the first round of funds on March 24.

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