Relief program helps out-of-work restaurant employees

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The restaurant and hospitality industry has been hit hard in Kentucky due to the Coronavirus, resulting in lost jobs and income for thousands.

Now, members of the industry are coming together to lift up their own and put some food on the table.

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Governor Beshear mandated the closing of all restaurants and bars, except delivery and curbside service. This resulted in many people losing their jobs or losing much needed hours. Bluegrass Hospitality Group, which owns Lexington staples like Drakes and Malones, laid-off more than 1,000 employees.

As of Thursday, employees of the restaurant industry can drive up curbside for some much needed assistance.

The restaurant workers relief program, gives former and furloughed employees a to-go dinner nightly, as well as other supplies such as diapers, cleaning products, toiletries and more.

Local restaurant, Atomic Ramen’s owner and chef, Dan Wu says curbside and delivery may sound like a decent compromise to some, but there are many places that don’t have the capability to offer this, and those who do still have been forced to cut staff, hours, and menus.
“So many people in the service industry were hourly employees. A lot of us are paycheck to paycheck, so when you lose a paycheck, not just one, not just two but indefinitely…it’s going to really really hurt you. A lot of people don’t necessarily know where their next meal is going to come from.” Wu says.

The program will be offered seven days a week from 5 to 7 pm nightly at Great Bagel and Bakery, on Boston Road.

The curbside service will follow proper social distancing guidelines and no one will be allowed inside the restaurant.

All that’s needed is proper ID and paperwork, such as a past paystub to prove recent restaurant employment.

Dinners will be handed out on a first come, first serve basis.

Wu is hoping people will help this effort, with monetary donations, household items, canned foods and toiletries.

Volunteers are needed too.

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Meteorologist Justin Roth weather forecasts can be seen weekend evenings on ABC 36 at 6:30 PM at 11 PM. Justin will also forecast the weather at 10 PM (MyKY 36.2) three days a week. Justin comes to WTVQ from the NBC affiliate in Casper, WY and interned in Knoxville, TN all where he gained the understandings of forecasting mountainous terrains and rapidly changing environments. His forecasts are for YOUR day and making YOUR life just a bit easier. Justin was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from Western Illinois University with Minors in Broadcasting and Mathematics. His interest in weather began at a young age when his parents gave him a book, ‘First Field Guide To Weather’ for his Birthday, ever since then weather has been a passion of his from forecasting to chasing tornadoes. When not forecasting the weather, Justin enjoys exploring new places and anything outdoors. He’s a self-proclaimed history buff and loves rooting for favorite sport teams, The St. Louis Cardinals and Blues. Please feel free to share any outdoor picture you’d like to share with him send them his way at JRoth@wtvq.com And be sure to follow him: Twitter - @JustinRothWx Instagram - @JustinRothWx