Many San Francisco businesses say they have already laid off their workers, including award-winning cocktail bar Trick Dog. The usually packed bar is now temporarily shut down and boarded up with plywood.
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Owner Josh Harris says he made the tough decision to temporarily shut down both Trick Dog and his second restaurant, Bon Voyage - meaning his 50 employees are now out of a job.
"It was very emotional for everyone and everyone is like family," Harris told ABC7 News. "They are now collecting unemployment, which really feels just like a consolation prize that's used to justify this situation that we've found ourselves in."
Another sad picture from San Francisco: Both @TrickDogBar & Bon Voyage bar by @bonvivants_sf are temporarily closed down and boarded up with plywood. Owner Josh Harris says he sadly had to lay off all 50 of his employees last week. He’s hoping to reopen, but there’s no guarantee. pic.twitter.com/E2IGhfmlid— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) March 25, 2020
Harris' hope is that he'll be able to reopen and rehire all of his employees - but says there's no guarantee. He's trying creative ways to make ends meet, including launching a new "Bottle Club," which he says is essentially a wine club but for fine spirits. Still, it might not be enough.
"Absolutely," he responded when asked if it's fair to say he might have to close permanently. "This is not something that we'll get through unscathed."
To try to stay afloat, bars are getting creative. @TrickDogBar, for instance, is now launching a “Bottle Club.” Owner Josh Harris says it’s similar to a wine club but for fine spirits. pic.twitter.com/AJN1CvmYAO— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) March 25, 2020
It's the heartbreaking reality for so many restaurant, bar and small business owners across the Bay Area. You can see it on GoFundMe - page after page of campaigns set up to help struggling businesses.
Alfie Spears is one of Harris' employees who up until last week worked as General Manager at Trick Dog. Spears started a GoFundMe to raise money for his staff.
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"The entire industry in the most expensive place in the world to live now has lost their paychecks," Spears said. "I don't think I can do unemployment for much longer."
And it's not just the food industry. Lauren Borden, the manager of Delano Nursery, started a GoFundMe for employees of the San Francisco Flower Market, which has been open since 1912. The market had to abruptly shut down last week, forcing florists to discard thousands of flowers in a nearby alley. The market's 300 employees are also now of work.
A sad reality for the flower industry, too. These photos are from last week after the San Francisco Flower Market had to abruptly close. Florists didn’t have time to come up w a donation plan & had to discard piles of flowers in the alley. 300 employees are also now out of work. pic.twitter.com/1whgCyPR2Y— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) March 25, 2020
"I started the GoFundMe because I know a lot of the employees at the flower market are living paycheck to paycheck and having to skip one of these paychecks is devastating for a lot of these families," Borden said.
"It's going to be hard for people to bounce back after this and some of them might not make it," she added.
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