Tuskie's Launches Campaign To Help Workers During Coronavirus

This article originally appeared on the Leesburg Patch

LEESBURG, VA — The Tuskie's Restaurant Group, owner of five restaurants in Loudoun County and one in Arlington County, is holding a fundraising drive for its employees who are out of work due to the new coronavirus, or COVID-19. On Monday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered all restaurants in the state to close their dining rooms and offer only carryout and delivery service.

Through a GoFundMe campaign, Tuskie's is raising money for what it is calling the Tuskie's Restaurant Group Workers Fund. The money will be distributed among staff members at all six of its restaurants: Tuscarora Mill, Magnolias at the Mill, South Street Under, Fire Works Leesburg, Fire Works Arlington, and Fire Works Cascades. None of the money raised will be used by the company, Tuskie's said.

"The Tuskie's Restaurant Group employs over 300 people, some of whom have been with us for nearly 30 years," the company said. "Many of our people are now out of work or have had their hours reduced in a greater effort to keep them safe and contain the spread of COVID-19."

Tuskie's said its small staff that’s staying on during the transition to takeout and delivery services "are risking their health daily in order to provide meals to our community during a time when it’s becoming difficult to buy food safely."

Across the country, restaurants and their employees are coming up with ideas to generate income. In D.C., restaurant servers and bartenders started a movement to help service workers continue to collect tips even if they couldn't go to work. The Virtual Tip Jar, updated daily at noon, is a list of service workers in the district who are facing difficulties as a result of restaurant and bar closures. The list includes the workers' Venmo, PayPal and Cash App handles, a column notating whether the workers have health insurance and another clarifying whether the workers have children.

Some restaurants in Northern Virginia are hoping they generate enough revenue through curbside carryout and deliveries to avoid having to lay off employees. The Loudoun Chamber and the Loudoun County government are helping restaurants get the word out about their to-go options. The town of Purcellville is developing its own online directory of restaurants, breweries, ice cream shops and other businesses in western Loudoun County that are offering carryout and delivery services.

"The COVID-19 crisis is expected to continue for months. Your donations will help not only with lost wages but also things like health insurance, rent, groceries, emergencies and childcare," Tuskie's said about its GoFundMe campaign.

Any questions about the Tuskie's Restaurant Group's fundraising effort should be directed to aemon@tuskies.com. Visit the Tuskie's Restaurant Group Workers Fund GoFundMe site to donate money to help the company's workers.