COLUMBUS, Ohio — Bars and restaurants have been struggling since the announcement of their closures earlier this week across the state.
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Their staff left wondering when they'll work again or receive tips or a paycheck.
But one Columbus-area restaurant got a glimmer of hope in a time of uncertainty.
It is an eerie feeling inside an empty Tommy's Diner. The specials menu hasn't changed since Sunday.
The usually bustling restaurant, a staple on West Broad Street, is quiet.
"That booth is filled every day by the same four, five guys, they don't know what to do with their time. They're calling, can we come in for coffee and I'm like no," explains owner Michael Pappas.
Some customers have called in for their favorite food to-go. But after a devastating announcement that bars and restaurants have to close, Pappas was surprised when regulars Josh and Steve stopped in to say hello and to make a delivery.
"We thought of these guys, they're literally part of our lives so we wanted to do something for them," says Joshua Snyder-Hill after he and his partner learned the news that the restaurant would close for dine-in.
So they decided to give a $3,000 check to the staff, who they say is like family.
That includes friend and employee of 18 years, Jenny Cornell.
Trying to hold back the tears, Jenny knows this gesture will go a long way, while she and her coworkers figure out how to get by without tips or a paycheck.
"I was still stunned, knowing them, they would do something like that. They are really kind people," she says.
Kindness in a time of uncertainty and struggle, Josh and Steve hope will inspire others to do the same.
"This will strap us to the next paycheck. But I think the difference is my job needs me and in a day they found out they had nothing," Josh says.
"We'll get through this, that's the message, the more people the more we will get through it and the more inspiration we will have out there," says Stephen Snyder-Hill.
Tommy's Diner is paying their employees for a week of time off.
Also, during this time while their restaurant is empty, they're painting inside and other maintenance.
Like many other restaurants, they also hope that carry out orders keep coming in. But right now for them, it's about 20% of what they normally get.
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