Local Restaurant’s React to Stimulus Bill

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – 22 employees at the Pickle Barrel in downtown Chattanooga were laid off over the past month.

“Right now we’re already on a skeleton crew I’ve got two cooks in the daytime and a bartender answering the phones and at night I have one bartender answering the phones and one cook” said Pickle Barrel Owner Ben Bowers.


Restaurant employees laid off are eligible for unemployment but Bowers says it’s not enough, “I’ve talked to some of my servers and bartenders and their unemployment is 160 dollars a week and that’s not going to cut it for them.”


Curbside and delivery is simply not enough to push through.


“With the business we’re getting I’m losing money.”


The restaurant industry will have a piece of the 2 trillion dollar stimulus package. 


The government is serving loans with interest to cover 2 and a half months worth of payroll and tax breaks.


Over at Herman’s, owner Rodney Billups is optimistic about the Stimulus bill but says there is still uncertainty, “Right now I think small business are in denial on how we will get that package.”


Laying off 8 of his servers was difficult for Billups to overcome.

“They are more like my family thank just my employees I tried to do the best that I could do with them and the ones that I do have they’re working split days.”


Owners who laid off their employees after February 15th can be forgiven for the loan if they re-hire their entire staff or increase wages before the end of June.


Will these benefits allow the restaurant industry in Chattanooga to stay afloat? Only time will tell.


Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Government & Politics, Jobs & Economy, Local News

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