‘It’s really, really awful’: Joe’s Inn manager forced to lay off employees amid virus outbreak

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Restaurants are taking a hard hit from the coronavirus outbreak. Several local restaurants have turned away customers who wish to dine-in and one popular spot was forced to lay off employees.

Before Gov. Ralph Northam urged Virginia restaurants to stick with carry-out orders on Tuesday, Joe’s Inn in Richmond’s Fan District already decided to close its doors to customers who want to dine-in. Many of the restaurant’s servers are left wondering: what’s next?

“They’re worried, you know. It’s really sad,” Lars Reisinger, the manager of Joe’s Inn, told 8News.

Reisinger had to deliver difficult news to many of his employees this week.

“We’ve had to lay off almost all of our servers,” he admitted. “It’s really, really awful. There’s just nothing for them to do.”

Joe’s Inn has suspended all dine-in services to help fight the coronavirus from spreading. The restaurant will continue to take curbside delivery and take-out orders until the crisis subsides. Reisinger said the decision means many of the servers will be applying for unemployment.

“Which doesn’t really mean much for a server because they don’t make much of a wage but maybe something will be done, we’re hoping, that maybe something will be done state government wise that can help,” Reisinger said.

Two regular customers, Joel and Ellen Dugan, came to Joe’s Inn on Tuesday for lunch to find out that the restaurant isn’t seating anymore. The Dugan’s said they hope servers who lost their jobs will get some type of aid.

“It’s probably necessary, just whatever we have to do to protect other people and ourselves,” E. Dugan said. “The servers are very, very nice people and you would hope that there would somehow be a way to help their incomes.”

Reisinger told 8News that the restaurant is looking forward to the future.

“All of their jobs are here waiting for them when they get back,” he said. “Every single one of them.”

Mayor Levar Stoney is working with Richmond restaurant owners to help implement curbside delivery so they can remain profitable. Normal parking regulations will be relaxed as customers place orders in advance and pick them up outside restaurants from their car.

Anyone who wishes to get food from Joe’s Inn can place a call and then pick it up at Shields Market across the street from the restaurant.

For more coronavirus coverage, click here.

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