By Frances Wang

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In less than a week, Miami restaurants like Jaguar Kitchen in Coconut Grove have seen business go down by more than 60 percent.

The coronavirus panic spread so quickly, restaurants are being shut down for now without much notice.

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“We don’t want to send anybody home or fire anybody. Well try to make it work,” said Chef Oscar del Rivero, the owner of Jaguar Kitchen.

Del Rivero said it to a family coming together in hard times following a city & county-wide order, they’re staying open just for pickup & delivery.

Incentives like 15 percent off for pick-up are being offered, as delivery services often take a huge cut.

Another Miami-based chef Michelle Bernstein took to Instagram, pleading for local and state officials to help the restaurant business by letting them keep their sales tax and county tax which is due on March 20th.

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“Nobody can go to work which means nobody can make money,” Bernstein told CBS 4 News. “People have no idea where their next paycheck or tip is going to come from.”

Even though there’s a direct impact on servers and bartenders, some are responsible for other families out of the country.

“To buy food for their families, To send money back to Cuba or anywhere else. It doesn’t just affect this family, it affects other families and so on and so on,” she said.

She has already lost tens of thousands. But she plans to keep health insurance paid for her employees as long as she has the money.
Beat Culture Brewery in Miami-Dade has already been open with a smaller staff, but owners are ready for an even smaller crew, at least until next month.

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“There’s a lot of concern and a lot of worry,” Alan Espino said. “Us local mom and pops that are very much impacted from day to day and week to week. When we talk about a 30-day closure, it’s a death sentence,” said Alan.

Espinoza is the co-owner and president. Despite the changes, he and his staff are still giving out rice bowls to those impacted, like being unemployed, because of the virus.

Hourly workers, especially those who depend on tips, will now wait to see if they will even have a business to go back to after restrictions are lifted.

The events industry is also suffering. Many South Floridians are signing a petition asking for federal aid.

Events all over the country are being canceled, including weddings.

Brides like Edmee say it’s weighed heavily on her for weeks. Her wedding was supposed to be on a Royal Caribbean cruise in April.

“We have elder guests including my father who has diabetes, my godfather who’s in his 80s,” explained Edmee. “My brother is in Seattle, I have other family in New York, Texas, my father is in Puerto Rico.”

Edmee does say the cruise line has been accommodating after they canceled their cruises for now. She, like everyone else, just taking it day by day and hoping for the best.

“Sometimes, maybe it’s better off this way. You don’t know what greatness can come out of it,” said Edmee, who is trying to stay positive. “You can’t see it now, but eventually.”

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Frances Wang