March 26, 2020 11:08:54 AM
As our community, state, nation, and world face the current pandemic, I feel we must all focus inward toward our local communities and work together to get through this. As founder and CEO of the Eat With Us Group I never dreamed I would face the situation we are in now. If you are anything like me, you are filled with uncertainty, but realize we must remain strong in our resolve, knowing we are moving toward the end of this crisis.
The Covid-19 crisis is very real, and it is important you understand supporting your local restaurants through this time benefits not just the restaurants, but our entire communities. Restaurants are some of the most philanthropic businesses in Mississippi. Whether providing food during a natural disaster or raising funds for someone in the community battling an illness, restaurants are the first to step up. The resources we have access to during the good times -- fresh food, compassionate employees, busy dining rooms -- afford us this opportunity.
Restaurants are now focusing their efforts on making great takeout orders quick and easy for everyone to be able to enjoy during this challenging, unprecedented time. I urge everyone to order as frequently as you can from your favorite local restaurant. Health department regulations have never been higher. Our managers, chefs and key hourly employees are Serve-Safe certified, understanding what it takes to keep our restaurants safe, healthy, and clean. Restaurants in Mississippi adhere to the highest of standards in sanitation practices and understand the importance of food safety.
By choosing to order from your local restaurants, you are contributing towards keeping restaurant employees working and earning income. Our leadership team, and restaurateurs in our community and state, have worked tirelessly to find a way to support our employees as well as the people of Mississippi that count on our restaurants every day. There are over 121,900 restaurant jobs in Mississippi, representing 10 percent of the workforce in our state. There are many more thousands that work to support and service restaurants such as food suppliers, farmers, chemical and janitorial businesses, and linen providers just to name a few. Unfortunately, as a result of the understandable restrictions on in-dining, many of these employees have had to be laid off.
I would like to commend our local, state and federal government agencies and officials as well as health care professionals who are on the front lines during this crisis. They are working hard to bring the pandemic to an end. The State of Mississippi is working to get unemployment benefits to these employees as quickly as possible and removing any lasting effects on employers. There are many relief funds being started to aid these workers during this time. Please consider contributing to one of these funds if you can.
Again, I urge you to please order takeout from your favorite locally owned restaurants as much as you can. We hope your meal will bring a little joy to your day, and also make you realize that your order has truly helped sustain the well-being of the Mississippi restaurant industry for the future!
I think I speak for all restaurants in Mississippi, that we can't wait to have you back in our restaurants!
John Bean is the CEO of Eat With Us Group, which is based in Columbus.
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