‘A lot of them will come back changed’: Laid-off workers fight to save restaurant scene


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A local restaurant manager is teaming up with a laid-off restaurant worker to raise money for those who are now jobless because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Addy Cooley and Randall McGarry were both laid off because of COVID-19. Cooley filed for unemployment and only will get a few hundred dollars a week.

“To have it go from you know $200 being a potential daily payment to being a weekly payment, I mean it’s just completely unsustainable,” Cooley said. 

That’s why Cooley and McGarry teamed up to start a GoFundMe to raise money for laid-off restaurant workers.

So far the fund has around $6,000 with more than 400 people already applying to get some of the money.

“Everybody in Richmond knows that restaurants are such a big part of this community but in times like this, show your gratitude by caring about us, the people who work to make your food, serve your food and your drinks,” Cooley said. 

Cooley and McGarry worry for more than just the workers of the restaurants, but also for the restaurants themselves. Both of them are worried the restaurant business will never look the same in Richmond.

“One day it was really really slow at work, the next day it was absolutely empty at work, the next day every place I knew of was closed and everyone was out of a job,” McGarry said, “It’s been scary.”

McGarry says you can help the restaurant scene by ordering takeout or delivery from your favorite local restaurants.

READ: High demand for food delivery forcing Chop Chop RVA to grow overnight

“Some restaurants, people need to understand, won’t come back from this,” McGarry added. “A lot of them will come back changed, and come back in a different capacity. It’s not going to be the same Richmond dining scene that it was before. It’s not gonna be the same vibrant culture that it was before if we can’t stay on our feet through this.”

Learn more about the GoFundMe campaign by clicking here.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus pandemic

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