Before the COVID-19 pandemic, an evening at the Bungalow restaurant would see friends and family gathering to have good times with food and drink before them.
Now, they’re one of many mostly vacant spots in the Woodbrook and St Clair areas.
The chairs that would host patrons have rested upon the bar and tables, mostly unused for much of the last eight months.
Office manager Avril Gooding explained that despite their attempts to adapt to enforced regulations, they simply could not find a way to remain open during this time.
“This is a restaurant which opens from 5 o’clock in the evening, so with the restrictions of being closed…to close at 10, we implemented opening for lunch. It started off slow…we were optimistic that it would have gotten better but with the other restrictions that came in the middle of August, it didn’t make any sense because we were opening and we didn’t make enough money to pay the workers, and I say to pay suppliers and stuff, you might as well close up,” said Gooding at the restaurant yesterday.
She explained that sometimes they would only get four customers a day.
“Look we have restaurant week that’s normally in September, we couldn’t take part in that. It was terrible, it was really bad,” she said.
Restaurants and bars have been asked to provide takeaway service only since August.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will pronounce on COVID-19 restrictions again on Saturday and restaurant owners are hoping they’d get the chance to restart dine-in services.
In recent days, some staff have been called out to do repair and maintenance work in the restaurant.
The floors were varnished and counters and chairs were being cleaned.
She said that employees are often texting to ask if there is work as they are looking for some form of income.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed, I mean to say we have workers that are messaging asking what is happening, everybody is concerned because this is affecting people livelihood as well, you know rents can’t pay. A lot of people had to give up their apartments, move in with people. I myself had to say praise and thank God my landlord was understanding and this was not something that I had control over so they kinda working with me,” Gooding said.
Gooding explained that many would dismiss the cries of restauranteurs and bars but she pointed out there has been a socio-economic impact as well.
“It is a struggle and I’m sure it’s not just me because before I came into this restaurant I had no knowledge of just how much people basically survived on the food industry. I had no knowledge, is only now when you see it you actually see, wow this is what happening. When you hear a lot of restaurants closing then you realise all these people going home. Bus boys, waiters, you know waitresses, cooks, kitchen assistants, you know all these people and they now on the breadline so it is a challenge,” Gooding said.