Coronavirus forces businesses to change to stay open

Businesses trying to survive COVID-19 pandemic

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Business owners call these some of the toughest times they can remember. That’s why they’re trying to be creative, but also making tough decisions to stay in business.

Chuck’s Fish General Manger Alicia Boothe described telling her employees they were forced to let some of them go.

“It was probably the hardest thing in my whole career to have to tell my whole entire staff that we were going to have to encourage them to seek unemployment,” Boothe explained.

Coronavirus hit this business hard.

“We don’t have on premises service right now. We’re doing To Go’s only,” Boothe continued.

Chuck’s and other bars or restaurants can’t allow people to stay and eat inside. That made business slower. It also forced management to make tough decisions.

“It takes only three or four people to run the place. So they were devastated,” she added.

We talked to Boothe Friday while America’s Lunch Food Truck gave free meals to people in Tuscaloosa’s hospitality industry who are now out of work.

Fewer people are also working at Hotel Indigo near Chuck’s Fish. Salaried employees are now doing the work hourly people used too according to Tina Jones, Director of sales and Marketing.

“We have had to suspend hours for all of our hourly employees. So our managers are now going to running the show until we can increase occupancy and begin to give hours back,” Jones told WBRC.

The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama has been working with business in the Tuscaloosa-area to help them through the process of downsizing and in some cases helping their employees file for unemployment in mass.

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