St. Louis, Mo., Mar 25, 2020 / 03:00 am
Favazza’s Restaurant has been an institution in St. Louis for over four decades. It’s located on The Hill, an Italian neighborhood well-known for its cuisine.
Now, with fears of coronavirus shuttering restaurants throughout the country, Favazza’s owner, a Catholic family man, is trying to keep his restaurant afloat, while at the same time trying to take care of laid-off employees as well as he can.
"I couldn’t do this if it goes three or four months. I'll probably have to close or something," owner Tony Favazza told CNA.
"Good thing I own the building, I have a good reputation— I've been here 45 years, and we've saved our money over the years. But we couldn't do this for a long time...We have business interruption insurance, but it does not qualify for this pandemic, evidently.”
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson ordered restaurants across the city to close their seating areas March 19, in favor of delivery, window, walk-up or drive-thru service. No date has yet been given for when the provision could be lifted.
Favazza has had to lay off almost 50 people, but has been able to help many of them get set up for unemployment, showing them how to fill out complicated government forms.
The restaurant now is open only for carry-out and curbside delivery, with only about 10 employees left. They’ve cut down hours, and are “operating on minimum,” Favazza said. Favazza is paying one of his remaining employees, who has worked at Favazza's for 40 years, a full salary.
"I don't know how long that's going to last, and he told me 'whatever you need to do,' but I told him I'd pay him, and his insurance. He's 62 years old, and I'm just trying to help him through this," he said.