‘I don't even know how to come out of this mentally’: Restaurant owners seek financial support to stay open
Restaurant owners across New Jersey are in need of financial support, and if it doesn't come soon, they may not be able to stay open.
Marilyn Schlossbach owns several local restaurants and businesses, including Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park. Overall, she says business is down about 90%.
“If we don’t get money in the next couple of weeks, we’re not going to be here Jan. 1,” says Schlossbach. That’s going to be true for a lot of operators.”
Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez and members of Congress from both parties participated in a Zoom discussion with the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association earlier this week. Schlossbach is a Chair on the association, and was involved. If federal financial relief doesn’t come soon, one-half of New Jersey restaurants may temporarily shut down.
Schlossbach says without immediate financial help, a permanent shutdown may be on the horizon for her.
“I just got a grant last week from the county this past week, which was amazing because I couldn't cover payroll last week,” says Schlossbach. “That grant covered my payroll. The anxiety of living day to day, week to week, forget about COVID, we're all going to be taking Xanax the rest of our lives. I don't even know how to come out of this mentally."
As if the emotional toll of trying to stay afloat during a pandemic isn’t enough, Schlossbach still hasn’t fully recovered from Superstorm Sandy.
“We still have a $300,000 loan from the SBA from Sandy recovery,” says Schlossbach. “We lost two restaurants in Sandy. I’ve put everything that we’ve done in the last eight years since Sandy back into our business. We do not have the resources to weather this without help.”
Sen. Menendez says he wants federal stimulus to also include rental and eviction protections and expanded unemployment benefits, along with aid to restaurants.
Schlossbach agreed with all of that, adding if she and many other business owners don't get money in the next couple of weeks, they're not going to be there Jan. 1.