By Hank Tester


MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Wayne Russell, like hundreds of other restaurant owner and operators, is waiting to see what May 18th will bring as far opening up beyond just takeout orders amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“Getting ready for another slow day of takeout where we will take whatever we can get,” the face of Duffy’s Tavern said.

Duffy’s, a legendary watering hole on Red Road just west of the Gables, is a home away from home for more than a few.

We caught up with Russell early Monday morning.

“We are doing OK with our takeouts, but now I see the customers now getting a little tight with the money,” he said. “

“The regulars have been keeping us going. They’d like to just come in and sit in a corner but we can’t do that. But after 35 years her, we have good customer and ah that is keeping us going right now.”

Like many small businesses, securing federal funds has been a mission for the Duffy’s crew.

“I did the $10,000 emergency one, which I don’t know if we are gonna see that. Filed for the PPP, which I don’t know who to blame or what to go on,” Russell said. “I just think they should have started with small business and worked their way up… I do much better as ‘Waiter Wayne’ than I do trying to figure out all this banker stuff.”

Russell showed off all his cleaning solutions to wipe down the tavern – even the disposable menus. Still, he’s not sure what he will face regulation wise when he can open up to at least partial service.

“A party of two comes in, they know each other, they are not viral. I put out my tape measure, I got six feet. I sit two people here and one at the corner,” he demonstrated.

Business is 20% of normal. The need to open critical.

“Anything is better than 20%,” he said. “Hopefully, if there are no spikes in a week or two… we are up and running and put this all behind us and learn from it.”

Duffy’s has not furloughed any worker. The tavern has been approved for a pay roll relief, but no money has shown up yet.

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