Restaurant leaders looking to help community amid business shut down

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Several business owners are banding together to make use of their down time to do some good in their community after they were shut down by New York State amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our day-to-day routines are completely thrown off. We have no businesses to run now, so it’s like, where do we focus – where do we channel that energy?” said Yono’s owner Dominick Purnomo.

Purnomo found the answer is giving back to the community. This comes after he and several restaurant and bar owners were forced to shut down after a spike in coronavirus cases.

“What we do for a living is take care of people, whether it’s food or beverage, you know, not only filling their bellies but their souls,” Purnomo said.

Dominick enlisted the help of several in the restaurant industry. They’re working with charities to feed those in need.

Tess Collins is a part of the group donating food to people throughout the area. They’re also looking at using staff to help cook and prepare meals for kids and the elderly.

“Everybody wants to help. They just don’t know what to do,” Collins said. “A lot of the restaurant people, we’re all talking. So we’re picking other places that other restaurants haven’t donated to,” Collins said.

Many restaurant workers who live pay check to pay check are now out of a job. Ama Cocina’s General Manager Jessica Evan said the restaurant is making meals three times a week for staff.

“Much like the people that we take care of, that walk through our doors, we that much more care about our staff,” Evan said. “They become your family. They’re the people you spend most of the time with,” Evan said.

While each person tries to figure the best way to handle the health emergency, all agree that there’s no road map.

“To sit down with the people you care about the most and to tell them – they’re looking to me as a leader and i don’t have the answers at that moment to give them, you know, that’s an uneasy feeling,” Purnomo said.

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