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Huntsville businesses wait to reopen as state unemployment claims rise during coronavirus

One business said it had to lay off half of it's employees.

Posted: May 7, 2020 6:31 PM
Updated: May 7, 2020 8:25 PM

WAAY 31 is taking a look at financial problems caused by coronavirus.

Number released Thursday show about another 30,000 people in Alabama filed for unemployment last week. That brings the total since the pandemic started to 450,000.

Friday, we’ll learn just how bad the unemployment rate is.

Shababy's Rib Shack in south Huntsville said business hasn't been good during the pandemic. They're doing what they can to get by.

Jennifer Adcock, one of the managers at the restaurant, said before the pandemic there were 12 employees at the restaurant on Bailey Cove Road. Now, there are 6.

"Business has declined dramatically. I want to say we lost about 70% of our sales. We also had to lay off a couple people or shorten hours. Right now we are trying to do the best we can and survive," she said.

The restaurant has a drive-thru window and is offering to-go food.

But another manager said the majority of customers prefer to dine in.

"A lot of our regulars are dine-ins, and we don't see them anymore," Siara Latham said.

Latham and Adcock said everyone is still making adjustments.

"When this all started and everybody was just going out to the stores and just buying everything ... we didn't hardly see any business. We dropped to maybe a couple hundred dollars a day, and in the restaurant industry that's not even going to pay our payroll," Adcock added.

"A lot of people don't know we're open anymore. And we have changed our hours some so it's different," Latham added.

The women said they're ready for Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health to re-open restaurants for dine-in but question when that will come.

"When is this going to be over? When are we going to actually be able to have people in? Are they going to keep extending it and keep on continuing to worry how we are going to pay the bills?" Latham added.

Now, we are expecting an update from Ivey sometime next week about the Safer At Home order and if re-opening restaurants, hair salons, barbershops and nail salons will be included in phase two.

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