Scottbsoro business owner terrified about economic impact of COVID-19 crisis

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SCOTTSBORO, Ala. – Businesses across the Tennessee Valley are feeling a major hit amidst the novel coronavirus.

Several Sand Mountain restaurants are shutting their doors completely after Governor Kay Ivey’s health order Thursday that said restaurants must all move to takeout only.

However, not all of them have to-go windows.

Geno’s Pizza and Grill is one of many Scottsboro restaurants trying to survive during the COVID-19 crisis.

“When we first heard of COVID, we thought it wasn’t going to happen to us as everybody did, and then Monday was panic mode for here. We saw a decline in our business starting on Friday, Saturday, Monday tremendously,” said Geno’s Pizza and Grill owner Cyndi Stephens.

On Tuesday, the restaurant had only gotten about five percent of what it typically gets. Stephens said they sold $148 worth of food that day.

Stephens told WHNT News 19 that it is a scary and emotional time for small businesses and the employees.

“It’s terrifying economically for what our future holds,” Stephens said.

The restaurant does not have a drive-through, but to stay afloat and help pay employees, they’re doing curbside pickup.

“It’s been very emotional for me. I’ve cried every day since this happened because we are a small business and we don’t have all the funds that some of your larger companies do,” Stephens said.

“Small business is the backbone of this entire country and it’s certainly the backbone of our community,” said Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rick Roden.

Roden and his team are working in overdrive to connect businesses and restaurants with resources to help.

“I’ve been on conference calls all over the country from the White House liaison officer, US Chamber, SBA,” said Roden

One way businesses can continue earning money is through a delivery app called ‘Go Native’.

The subscription service partners with local businesses to deliver food, groceries and retail straight to the customer’s door Monday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Businesses typically have to pay a monthly fee to access ‘Go Native’, but due to the novel coronavirus, the developers are waiving monthly fees to all Scottsboro restaurants through the end of the month.

“It’s a very important way that we can help our restaurants and small businesses be able to try to survive. Is it going to get all their money back, no, but they’re at the point now where every single little bit helps,” Roden said.

Despite fears and concerns, Stephens knows her restaurant has the community’s full support and is confident they’ll find a way to survive either through the ‘Go Native’ app or Small Business Association loans.

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