Restaurants, entertainers helping others despite loss of business

Reporter: Sara Girard
Published: Updated:
Chicago Boys restaurant in Fort Myers empty due to coronavirus fears. (WINK News)

Right now, businesses are making the decision whether or not to stay open. But no work means no money and that’s weighing heavily on the minds of owners all across Southwest Florida.

With coronavirus keeping crowds at home, times are getting tougher as more people in the entertainment industry are losing gigs and restaurants struggle to stay open.

Chicago Boys owner Carlo Benza (WINK News)

The owner of Chicago Boys in Fort Myers says he’s doing everything in his power not to lay off any of his employees.

“Our businesses run on tips, so being that the customers are not coming in, a lot of my staff is hurting tremendously,” said owner Carlo Benza.

He says with extra precautions like reduced seating and increased cleaning, his businesses—Chicago Boys, Chicago Calzone, and CB2—are trying to stay open as long as they can. He says they will stay open their regular hours until the governor shuts them down.

“These employees have families, they have children, and we have to make sure that they’re being taken care of,” Benza said.

Not only to keep his employees fed but the community too.

“As we go along with the situation, we’re going to go ahead and start giving bread away to anyone that needs bread,” he said.

Feeding people who might be out of work themselves like entertainers.

Lead singer of Electric Lipstick Colleen Leavy. (WINK News)

“A couple of the band members, they are retired, they don’t work, this is their source of income,” said graphic designer by day, lead singer of Electric Lipstick by night, Colleen Leavy.

She says the band has had to cancel more than 20 upcoming shows. “But we understand, there’s a fear factor, and even if we played out tomorrow who would come?”

Yet, she’s already thinking of ways to help everyone bounce back.

“Whatever we have to do, even if it’s a beneficial situation to get morale up, and increase revenue for the businesses,” she said.

Above all, she’s staying positive.

“‘I Will Survive’ is one of our theme songs, and that’s kind of prophetic on right now. We will all survive this and come out stronger,” Leavy said.

Benza is encouraging people to use delivery and take out when possible. He says he hopes to start donating bread to families in the next week or two.

You can check out the restaurant’s Facebook page for more information on that.

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