Winchester family-owned restaurant needs financial relief

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CLARK COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) — At his press conference in Winchester Wednesday morning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talked about who will get money from the next coronavirus relief package.

He says Congress wants to focus on those hit the hardest. He describes them as people making $40,000 or less, mostly working in hospitality and restaurants.

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We talked with a Winchester family that fits that description – restaurant owners who say they need the help whatever the dollar amount.

“It’s been a very big struggle,” says Natasha Baker, manager at Blue Isle Home-style Restaurant and Bar.

Struggle doesn’t even seem to fully describe it for the family-run restaurant.

“We both gave up a lot to start this from scratch,” says Baker.

The Somersall family has two locations in Mt. Sterling and Winchester.

But owner Rawle Somersall says coronavirus capacity restrictions forced him to close in Mt. Sterling.

“I didn’t want to continue running it not being able to have it at full capacity or even in use,” says restaurant owner Rawle Somersall.

It’s been a tough few months.

“At one point it was just us because we couldn’t afford to have anyone else come in or anything we were just doing what we could to keep the doors open,” says Baker.

Even after re-opening the dining room in Winchester business has been slow.

“Our customers have cut down tremendously. We used to have a Sunday buffet where we had a lot of members come in from church. We can’t do that anymore,” says Somersall.

He is worried business will never be what it was but he’s still hoping for the best.

Somersall says the first federal relief loan went in and out quickly.

“To operate a business such as a restaurant, it takes a lot a lot that people really don’t see,” says Somersall.

He says they still have bills to catch up on and payroll to make.

“Sometimes payroll comes out of my pocket. I’m retired from the military but still that’s what helps me to keep swimming and I’m a good swimmer but sometimes the current gets real strong,” says Somersall.

A second relief check gives him hope.

“Any dollar would help us,” says Somersall.

The restaurant is located at the Winchester Country Club at 410 Boone Ave. It also does catering.

McConnell says the relief package congress is working on should come together in the next few weeks.

He didn’t have an exact dollar amount for it but he says it won’t be $3-trillion like the last package.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.