PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - When Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego declared a state of emergency Tuesday that mandated the closure of restaurants and bars in town, servers and bartenders were left reeling.

"How are you going to survive? How are you going to pay your bills?” wondered Dustin Nenaber, a general manager and bartender at Philly’s Sports Grill in Ahwatukee.

The restaurant was already dealing with the loss of sports. Then, social distancing meant their St. Patrick’s Day crowd was much smaller than normal.

Then, they got today’s announcement. “We are doing this to keep our community safe. We understand that this is incredibly difficult for our small businesses and the workforce that will be impacted by this,” Gallego said.

Philly’s owner Jim Wallin was caught by surprise. "We had 8 hours to find out what we can do,” he said. “They gave us no notice. Eight hours."

While the mayor’s order does allow takeout, delivery, and drive-through service at restaurants, Philly’s is closing completely.

“A restaurant this size, we can't do it. We're 7,000 square feet. We're not set up for a curb pick-up or a takeout,” Wallin said.

His servers normally make anywhere from $150 to $300 a night.

“I think that's kind of everybody's biggest fear is how long is this going to go on for,” Nenaber said. “You know, we live off our tips."

Wallin says the 3 Philly’s locations in Tempe are still operating for the time being. “We're going to try and send them over there, but we're going to have to lay some off,” he said. “We're going to use the food here to try and feed our employees' family.”

Employment attorney Julie Pace says workers who are laid off, and even those who are temporarily furloughed have the same option moving forward. “They can still go in and apply for unemployment while they are not able to get money and work,” she said.

But in the meantime, in an industry driven by tips, some people might have to find a major side-hustle to get by. Pace says state law normally requires a 7-day delay before a worker can apply for unemployment, but she’s hoping the state will waive that requirement.

Arizona’s Family reached out to the governor’s office, and they said they are still waiting to get additional guidelines from the federal government about how to handle that.


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