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Restaurant owner paying employees, even though restaurant is shut down due to coronavirus


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    Fairhope (WALA) — An empty restaurant on a Wednesday afternoon isn’t something Ryan Glass had seen at Camellia Cafe in Fairhope in years.

“Going through 2006,7,8, and then the oil spill in 9. It’s the hardest times that we went through before,” Glass said.

It’s because his restaurant, like many others, has closed it’s doors to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The coronavirus pandemic has hit the service industry hard and many workers are already feeling the effects financially.

What’s special about this story? Unlike many other businesses in the service industry, Glass will pay his employees while his restaurant is shut down.

“I kind of had a little intuition in thinking that this was coming so I’ve been preaching to my staff to live as lean as possible. Since the last week of January, first week of February. Be grateful, live lean, if you don’t eat it, you don’t buy it,” he explained.

After going through the BP oil spill disaster in 2009, Glass vowed he’d be prepared just in case another disaster was to come.

“I’ve always set aside a small fund, if you will, for another catastrophe,” Glass told FOX 10 News.

His hope is to keep his employees afloat financially during this crisis, while they’re out of work. He wanted to ensure they’re taken care of and able to return to work once this is all over.

“I’m not going to pay my employees full, but we will survive,” Glass said.

Like the seating area in the restaurant, the kitchen was void of people, but there was no shortage of food. Glass said, he let all of his employees leaves with bags of food on their last day.

“If I can’t bless them with full pay. I have kind of been prepping as far as food. I will subsidize them and make sure they’re okay,” he said.

The food in the refrigerator plus more food and supplies that started to arrive while we were there, will go to his employees’ families and then the community when it’s time, according to Glass.

When asked why he decided to do this, his response was simple.

“I don’t have staff, I have family,” Glass said. “It’s just who we are, it’s Camellia Familia.”

He hopes this story will encourage other business owners who have a little saved up to follow suit.

“Plan for the worst and hope for the best. If we all do that together, then it’ll be over faster.”

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Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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