Local small business owners hurting during the pandemic

Francine Austin said her business, Moi Poki Bar, is open to the public and ready to serve you.

Posted: Apr 1, 2020 11:21 PM
Updated: Apr 2, 2020 10:53 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The coronavirus pandemic is hitting small businesses hard in western Oregon with one business owner in disbelief of how fast things changed.

In November 2019, KEZI 9 News spoke with Moi Poki Bar owner Francine Austin about how she was on the hunt for employees during record-low unemployment. Five months later, Austin said her business took a hit when Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order limiting restaurants to take-out and delivery as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"I got into my car and just started crying because all of a sudden my whole livelihood, the things that I look forward to and coming to every day, is going to be put on hold for I don't know how long," Austin said.

In November, Austin had two stands with over 11 employees. Now it's just her running one stand at the Beergarden.

"I think that was the worst thing I had to do was actually let my employees go because a lot of them live paycheck to paycheck," Austin said.

Austin said her poke bar still offers delivery and take-out. She wants the public to know her business and others in western Oregon are being overly cautious with hand washing, sanitizing counters, wearing gloves and wiping down registers.

Austin said her business is open to the public and ready to serve you.

"You know being a small business owner, it's already as hard as it is, but during this time I think it's even more challenging and you got to do everything that you can," Austin said.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 3967

Reported Deaths: 148
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