LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The financial strain of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry has been immense.
Last week, the situation worsened for many owners in Kentucky with Governor Andy Beshear's newest set of restrictions shutting down indoor dining.
Since November 20, restaurants have been limited to carry out and patio dining only. That's not only impacted the bottom line, but also the employment status of thousands of workers.
But the day before the ban, restaurant Jeff Ruby's made a plan. They have two locations in Kentucky, one in Lexington and one in Louisville.
The group announced that 100 percent of its sales would be donated to their roughly 80 employees who would be furloughed.
Britney Ruby Miller, CEO of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment says her heart broke for those employees who would have to temporarily lose their jobs, so they wanted to do something to help ease the burden.
"It's heartbreaking, I mean there's not another word. It's heartbreaking. These are real people with real jobs, with real families, with no plans in place, and did not see this coming whatsoever," said Miller.
But that night alone they were able to raise $60,000 to give back to those employees. Something Miller says couldn't have been done without the community coming out to support their plan.
She can't wait to have their staff back together again, but until then they will do what they can to help them.
"The response has been overwhelming. It's great to get a thank you, but the thank you goes to them because they are still committed to us," said Miller.
Governor Beshear has set aside money for a relief fund, and Miller says when they receive that they will also be giving that money back to their employees.