Home Local News Denver restaurants respond to coronavirus outbreak with war effort

Denver restaurants respond to coronavirus outbreak with war effort

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<pre><pre>Denver restaurants respond to coronavirus outbreak with war effort
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Most days, Colorado-based chef Andrea Frizzi checks in with her sister in Milan, Italy. She is very concerned about him in Denver.

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Frizzi runs Il Posto on Larimer Street, as well as Vero pizza and pasta and the Tammen Fish Counter at Denver's Central Market. He looked exhausted, almost out of breath during a phone conversation a week after Denver restaurants closed for two months in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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"She knows I don't stop, because I can't," Frizzi said of their conversations. "Restaurants are the new American factories," he explained. "We work with our hands, we stand up, we enter. Now the bureaucracy must work at the same rate as the crisis."

As of Wednesday, Frizzi had changed the business models of his restaurants more than once only to survive the first week of closing.

He was selling comfort foods like pizza, pasta, meat, and cheese, and mainly came to keep his remaining staff of around 10 people employed.

Those who still work give up their advice to donate to the more than 20 who could not keep their jobs due to lack of work or health problems. At the Denver Central Market, Frizzi continued to stock staples (eggs, butter, sugar, and toilet paper) to sell along with take-out meals.

"For now, we can pay people," said Frizzi. "We clearly can't pay the rent with this money. Right now we can forget about the income,quot; and the profit and loss. "

Millions more in Frizzi's position across the United States waited during the second week of closing to hear Congress's plan to help small businesses and workers who had been laid off as a result of the coronavirus.

From March 16 to 19 in Colorado, more than 20,000 people filed unemployment insurance claims, or 1,450% more than the week before. Restaurant workers account for about 10% of state employment, or 294,000 employees. At least 174,000 of them have lost their jobs as of Thursday, according to the Colorado Restaurant Association.

"What concerns me most is complete and utter silence about what (the restaurants) are doing," Frizzi said. "The (government) knows we are in trouble, but they don't say anything. Do you know when the silence is really strong? We need someone to tell us, 'We stand behind you' or 'We don't,' because we are alone right now, completely "

On Wednesday night, the Senate approved a $ 2 trillion rescue package, the largest in US history, which among other measures would include four months of full pay for laid off workers, direct checks on homes, and loans. for small businesses or business tax credits. they can retain employees.

Frizzi's desperation in Denver echoed similar requests from the industry across the United States in the past week and a half. Writing for The New York Times on Sunday, José Andrés implored the federal government to mobilize restaurant workers and activate restaurant kitchens to feed a country in crisis.

"Every industry group should present its case in this crisis," Andrés wrote. "But only those of us who work in restaurants can help revive the economy while feeding and building our communities at the same time."

Until help arrives, restaurants are providing what they can.

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