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Indiana restaurants, bars ordered to stop in-person dining

Indiana restaurants, bars ordered to stop in-person dining

(WISH) — Gov. Eric Holcomb’s order for restaurants, bars and breweries to shut down for the remainder of March has owners scrambling to save their businesses.

A2Z Cafe owner Gina Rosenow in Carmel told News 8 that service hasn’t been the same since the first coronavirus case was announced March 6.

“Our business has dropped less than half, so 50% and less so I’m trying not to cry,” said Rosenow.

Holcomb is allowing delivery and carryout services, but many owners feel that the experience will not be the same.

“If you were to come in here, you’d see most people have a smile on their face and you can’t have that just picking up carryout. I mean, it’s different,” Rosenow said.

Rookies Sports Pub on the west side of the city was expecting many people to dine in during St. Patrick’s Day. Tony Cookerly, owner of Rookies Sports Pub and Britton Tavern in Fishers, said he worries about his employees, who live from paycheck to paycheck.

“How are we going to pay? Everyone needs to get paid. Fifty employees are looking at me like, ‘Are we gonna close? Please tell me we’re not closing.’ I’m getting phone calls constantly, like, ‘How can we get around this?” said Cookerly.

Cookerly and Rosenow said they’re working on a plan to keep servers employed by having them do other responsibilities, including extra cleaning or curbside pickup.

Many owners said they are in support of Holcomb’s decision to end dinning services in an effort to slow down the spread of coronavirus but hope there will be government assistance for hospitality staff.

Bars, restaurants closed for in-person dining

“Everyone’s got car payments, hose payments, mortgage payments, credit card bills, whatever it is, and if they’re not going to work I’d like to know what the plan is,” Cookerly said.

People permanently or temporarily without jobs due to COVID-19 are encouraged to file for unemployment insurance via a computer or smartphone on a webpage through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. For additional questions, residents can call the unemployment insurance help line at 800-891-6449 or access a video tutorial for filing assistance.