Restaurants, bars make major changes in response to mayor's emergency order

Published: Mar. 16, 2020 at 2:57 PM AKDT
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Breweries, bars, and restaurants are making quick changes in response to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz's emergency order he signed Monday.

Businesses across Anchorage have had to lay off employees, adjust shifts and create new workflows quickly.

Matanuska Brewing Company announced the layoffs of 147 people after the announcement.

"I’ve been in business since 2005 when we opened up a pizza shack in Nome, Alaska," said Matt Tomter, one of the owners. "And we’ve never laid a person off until today. It sucks. You want to know the truth? I feel terrible."

Tomter said jobs will be available to those who were laid off when the business reopens.

In the meantime, Tomter said that pick-up will be available for growlers, beer, and food.

Andy Kriner, the owner of Kriner's Diner, said he had to cancel shifts starting Monday night and move schedules around to give all of his employees hours.

Kriner said he will also begin to have curbside and take out options available during the closures.

"There's gonna be a lot of challenges, some we haven't seen yet," Kriner said. "But you have to adapt. It’s going to be a financial crush, a financial burden on everybody, employees and owners. There’s just no getting away from it."

For new restaurant owner Nathan Bentley, he said this decision is especially hard.

"For a new restaurant business, there are start-up costs," he said. "We tried to prepare ahead of time for it, we didn’t know it would come as fast as it did. But we’re here now and we’re in this together."

Bentley runs Altura Bistro. He opened the fine-dining establishment nine months ago.

Bentley said he is now offering wholesale soup to the public, delivery, takeout, curbside pick-up as well as catering events to private homes in response to the announcement.

Gyms are also facing closures during the next two weeks. Turnagain Crossfit owner Josh Fidler said they would work with members should they choose to cancel their membership during this time. He also told his coaches they would still be paid for the classes they would have coached during the two week closure.

"I'm kind of in a weird way, glad, that maybe we've caught this early, to avoid some of the situations that we've seen around the globe," Fidler said. He also said they made sure their members had at home workouts and equipment if necessary to get through the next two weeks.

Channel 2 reached out to the Alaska Club about what they were doing with their members during the two week closure and had not heard back at time of publication. OrangeTheory posted on Facebook that they were putting all member accounts on a freeze until the gym could open back up. BodyRenew told Channel 2 they were still figuring out how to handle member billing and would get back to us once they did.

Theaters, like Beartooth Theaterpub is closing as well. The movie theater is doing immediate refunds to any customers who bought their tickets online. As for the ones that bought them at the box office, the theater is asking those customers to call Bearstooth and leave their name and number so the theater can work with them individually.

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