The cutback in business as a result of the COVID-19 virus has reduced Soulmates Sports Bar income by 80 per cent, said its owner Kate Davis-Choon.
The Soulmate company has two restaurants and bars—one in Scarborough called Soulmate and the other in Crown Point known as Overhang.
Facing reduced income, full closure for three and a half months, then reduced hours—8 am to 10 pm dail—the company let go four of the 12 employees, Davis-Choon told Guardian Media.
The other eight are earning a reduced income as the Government has reduced the opening hours of bars and restaurants and directed them not to allow patrons to dine in the establishments.
The reduced opening hours is one measure the Government is using to reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19.
“Not allowing customers to dine has drastically affected our business. We are flat out struggling to make ends meet. Our landlords have been working with us but we have other bills to pay. I could not pay my workers’ NIS and health surcharge for two months. When I did, I had to pay penalty fees and interest,” the owner said.
“If the situation does not change. We will have to close as we have more debts than income.”
She feels the only way to survive is for the Government to increase the number of hours bars can open.
She suggested making all eating establishments “COVID ready with all safety precautions in place.”
“Many people do not want to buy a drink and have it on the roadside. They want to sit and enjoy it,” she said.
“People don’t want to buy and go. They want to sit and socialise, even if they have to sit six feet apart from other people. People are struggling to relieve their tensions because of COVID. The bar can relieve that,” she added.
She said she struggled to make ends meet when the bars were completely shut down.
“I am so glad I had a boss who delivered groceries to all her employees during that time. She made sure that we could have eaten. She did all the necessary forms so we could get the government’s grants. For that, I am very grateful.”
Manager of Overhang, Steve Davis, delivered the foodstuff.
He said he too was having a hard time as he saw his sister’s business “on the brink.”
“Before COVID we were not rich, but we did well. Now, we are struggling to survive. We have lost many customers. We may lose more workers if this situation continues,” Davis said.