JUPITER, Fla. — This week marks one year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Just under a year ago, restaurants started shutting down and jobs were lost.
"Good human beings that did nothing wrong," said Lee Morris, Culinary Director and General Manager of 1000 North in Jupiter.
Annie Blake, co-owner of Death or Glory Bar in Delray Beach remembered, "We decided to close Death or Glory before we were required to." "We thought we could shut down for a month and make [the coronavirus pandemic] go away," said Blake.
The Delray restaurant offered each full-time employee a thousand dollars towards rent.
Ashley Amann, a sever at Death or Glory bar, said in 2020 "How do you feel anything except extreme gratitude?"
"We think of our employees as family," said Blake. The restaurant giving $25,000 towards rent, a gesture to help her struggling work family.
"To have to say, 'Thank you, you guys have done an amazing job and now none of you have one,'" sobbed Blake in 2020.
"It's an amazing thing and it shows how much they care about us," cried Amann.
In 2020, 1000 North in Jupiter furloughed 115 employees.
Ira Fenton, the Managing Partner of 1000 North, said in 2020 – "[Employees are] the most valuable asset."
The restaurant gave out $57,000 in cash and care packages.
"Making sure 1000 North employees were taken care of even though they were at home [and] they couldn't come to work," said Morris. "[While they weren't working the care package said,] 'We still care about you, this is from us to you and it's paid off with dividends, I think, in the long run.'"
1000 North and Death or Glory says 90% of their workforce returned.
"[The pandemic] definitely put a dent in my bank account (laughs)," said Amann.
And both businesses revenues are down by 30%
"We're operating at a point now where we can pay our bills and we can pay our staff and that's good enough, right now," said Blake.