On the last night of dinner service, before Jim Edwards had to shut down his Loveland restaurant Door 222 for a month and lay off a staff of 40, he saw a lot of regulars walk through his doors.
They came to show their support, said they would be around over the next month to order takeout, that they’d come back in 30 days to sit in the restaurant, and then they tipped generously before leaving.
One couple — who Edwards didn’t recall seeing before Monday — came in to have a drink at the bar. They paid their $11.74 tab and added on $750 in gratuity, telling the staff as they left to share it.
“And nobody even knew really who they were,” Edwards said. “But everybody who was at work that night got $50-$100 extra.”
As restaurants around Colorado close their dining rooms for 30 days — eight weeks in Denver — and lay off workers in the hundreds, their situations start to sound dire. And they are.
While no single act can match the relief that businesses and employees are looking for on a large scale, they say individual gestures matter.
Yesterday from Summit County, Alan Blado posted a message to Silverthorne and Idaho Springs’ respective community Facebook pages.
He had pre-paid for 40 meals from a pair of family-owned restaurants in each town, and he told community members they could go and get them for no cost, while taking precautions and practicing social distancing.
“To call the restaurant owners, you could just hear the stress in their voices,” he said. “And if people are hungry… this gives them a chance to have some tasty food, not just rice and beans.”
Blado owns Liquid Descent Rafting, but started his career as a stockbroker. As the pandemic started to set in over the weekend, he said he was looking through Facebook, frustrated and thinking about his summer employees and all those service industry workers, like the tenants in his rental properties.
“It just kind of hit me,” he said, “maybe we can start something positive.”
Blado called his tenants on Monday and told them not to worry about paying rent and utilities for the next few months, he said. A couple of them had been laid off from their jobs already.
Then he received a call from one of his landlords for the rafting business, who told him not to worry about rent for a while, either.
“I think we’re just realizing that we are in this situation and we need to do our best to stick together and stay positive,” he said. “Sometimes when we’re just bombarded with all this negativity, you can forget that and get discouraged.”
Blado said he hopes to spread the love during this time and maybe pick a new set of local restaurants to support next week.
“Maybe someone else will do it in a couple days or something,” he said. “You know, we’ll just keep it going.”
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