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Restaurant closures and layoffs: The impact of the coronavirus outbreak being felt across the Treasure Valley

“It's almost like days off but in the back of your mind you've always got to wonder, how long is this going to last?” said Craig West, who was recently laid off.

BOISE, Idaho — In a matter of days, hundreds of people across the Treasure Valley are suddenly without a job and not to mention, a paycheck. 

One of the hardest hit industries so far: the food industry. 

Something Craig West experienced firsthand. He was laid off from Bardenay on Tuesday after working there for 13 years. 

“For right now, it's almost like days off but in the back of your mind you've always got to wonder, how long is this going to last?,” West said.

He doesn’t fault his former employer for laying him off and says he hopes to return to work there when the threat of COVID-19 is over and Bardenay reopens. 

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“They made the decision, I think it was a hard one to make,” West said. “They build kind of a family there. There's a lot of camaraderie there and a lot of friendships.”  

Kieran Macintyre was the in-house DJ at Diablo & Sons. He too, was laid off earlier this week. 

“It was clearly not easy and I knew they were not doing this because they could, they were doing this because they exhausted all of their options,” Macintyre said. 

The burden and uncertainty also weighing heavy on local business owners, like Ted Challenger. He owns Amsterdam Lounge, Dirty Little Roddy’s and Strange Love in downtown Boise.

“It's horrible,” Challenger said. “My staff is my biggest commodity, it's my asset, it's the people who work for me that bring in my success and it's really gut-wrenching and you want to take care of them.” 

Challenger laid off all 100 of his employees. He's now trying to figure out his options. 

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“I had a roof collapse last year and so I was closed for a year and so I really got to know loss of income insurance,” Challenger said. “There is a statement that says for virus, no loss of income will pay for it, but for a civic action there is a chance I can claim my losses and get some money for that.”

He goes on to say, the best way to support small businesses right now, is to buy gift cards from the establishments.

“I've been in this business for 28 years and we've always answered the call for the food beverage industry and for fundraisers and anything where someone is sick in the community, and needs extra help, this is our time we need help,” Challenger said.

Covid-19 is expected to have a lasting impact here in the Treasure Valley and across the globe. 

“Once this situation hopefully improves, people can return to their jobs fully cognizant of how important their job is and how important each other are,” Macintyre said.

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