Fresno business forced to lay off employees during COVID-19 outbreak

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- "We need some help if we want to be open when this all passes us by," said Michael Edgar, Owner of the Yellow Mug Coffee Shop in northeast Fresno.

The future of Edgar's business is very uncertain.

Tuesday afternoon, an executive order was issued in the city of Fresno closing bars, nightclubs, breweries and lounges and removing dine-in options from restaurants and as a way to counteract COVID-19.

"When you start to look at these areas where people congregate, they are in close proximity, it just really opens up the possibility to possibly expose people to that," said Jaime Sandoval with the City of Fresno.

Edgar is worried the shop he opened eight months ago is about to be ripped from him.

"To have it basically be right at our fingertips and slip away like this is going to be difficult," he said.

Under the executive order, restaurants can still do delivery and takeout, but Edgar said that will not be enough to survive.

He's already let go of eight employees.

Next door, Bobby Salazar's on Champlain and Perrin is empty for the first time ever on St. Patrick's Day.

"The whole situation has been very uncertain, it has been very surreal," said owner Suzie Riofrio.

RioFrio is also being faced with the same burden as Edgar. Soon she will have to start letting go of staff.

"That is very disappointing to me to have to tell them that I don't know how long they are going to be off of work," said Riofrio.

Because her restaurant is still allowed to do takeout, her insurance will not compensate for losses. She is now hoping takeout and free delivery will entice customers.

Edgar, on the other hand, is pleading with customers to help keep his dream alive.

"Every order that we get is another order that keeps us alive, so it does not matter what it is, every penny counts," he said.

The City of Fresno says police and code enforcement will be enforcing the executive order. Those in violation will receive a warning first and after that, they will face fines and could be forced to fully close down.

The Yellow Mug Coffee shop has set up a GoFundMe in hopes of weathering the storm.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to abc30.com/coronavirus/.
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