COVID-19 has capitalism on lockdown. With businesses forced to remain closed for the foreseeable future, 16 million Americans have lost their jobs in the past 3 weeks.
The hospitality industry is among one of the most affected, as most—if not all—of its revenue comes from onsite sales. All bars, cafes, and restaurants have been forced to close in order to ensure people remain socially isolated from one another.
So while little to no money is coming in for these establishments, owners and employees are still responsible for paying rent, bills and spending money to survive.
One Georgia bar owner who’s been subjected to COVID-19’s effect on her business was able to help her staff in an unexpected way.
Jennifer Knox has owned The Sand Bar in Tybee Island, Georgia for six years. Along with her mother, she purchased the establishment after working there as a bartender for seven years.
The beachside bar is a popular tourist destination, and with the season just about to begin, her employees (four bartenders and two musicians) were ready to make their money for the year.
Sitting in her empty bar, behind its locked doors, Knox wondered how she could help her staff through this period of financial crisis.
Turns out, patrons of The Sand Bar have been writing on money and stapling bills to the walls of the bar for years. Knox looked around and saw that over time, the walls and ceiling of the bar had become fully papered-over with money.
“We were sitting there doors locked and I’m like oh my gosh, ‘there’s money on the walls and we have time on our hands,'” Knox told CNN.
Knox had the epiphany, “‘We gotta get this money down.'”
It took five volunteers working for pizza and beer three and a half days to get all the money down, and another week to clean the tattered bills.
Since the word is getting out, thought I’d share it here! The Sand Bar is going to have a fresh new look, while giving...Posted by Jennifer Knox on Friday, March 27, 2020
The team pulled $3,714 off the walls, proving their efforts well worth it.
Over a span of three days, a Tybee Island bar removed $3,714 worth of bills stapled to their walls to give to their unemployed staff. 📸Jennifer Knox of The Sand Bar pic.twitter.com/Aiz2NBCPxy— Amanda Jackson (@AmandaJ_TX) April 8, 2020
In addition to the counted up bills, Knox received supplemental donations from some generous regulars, bumping the total distributed to her staff to $4,104. Each employee was given $600.
Knox remains optimistic that The Sand Bar will reopen, and she is still collecting donations from people inspired by the measures she was willing to go to in order to take care of her staff.
“I can’t just sit here and do nothing,” she said. “I’ll do what I can for my people”.