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Louisville downtown businesses hit hard by COVID-19

Downtowner Deli owners Tony and Delanea Cobb will be closing their doors at the end of this week.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Nearly 300 businesses in Louisville have either closed their doors indefinitely or permanently since the pandemic, according to data compiled by Yelp.

The largest casualty seems to be restaurants. WHAS11's Paulina Bucka spoke to a couple who will be permanently closing their deli.

Downtowner Deli owners Tony and Delanea Cobb will be closing their doors at the end of this week. The West Market Street deli has been a staple, but they said COVID-19 has taken a toll.

"We closed for all of the month of April and most of May. In June, we decided to come back and I don't think anybody thought that this would be this long."

At first, the Cobbs said they were hopeful. 

They invested in proper PPE, delivery, take out and the business wasn't there, especially when most of the downtown office building sent workers home.

"It's just that downtown is very hard to hang in right now. Ninety percent of our customer base is from the business towers."

The deli is just one of the hundreds of restaurants and businesses downtown that won't be returning, according to data from Yelp.

Yelp's data shows that in Jefferson County 455 businesses have either closed temporarily or permanently since March 1st. As of July 10th -- 279 businesses are permanently closed according to the site.

Delanea Cobb said COVID-19 has been one reason downtown is looking so sparse. She also said even if boarded-up downtown businesses are open, they aren't being frequented.

"There's still not a lot of people downtown, not just with COVID but not many people are downtown with what's going on the protests and the uncertainty and the daily things that happen downtown," Delenea Cobb said.

Their restaurant neighbors next door and around the corner have also closed up shop which they said paints a grim picture for downtown.

"We don't know if downtown will ever recover, if they'll come back in full or if it's going to continue being like this," she said.

Tony and Delanea have set up a gofundme and hope to raise enough funds to buy a food truck and return downtown.

Yelp is an online directory for finding local businesses and that includes bars, restaurants, and cafes to hairdressers, spas, and gas stations. Consumers can also post photos and reviews of their experiences.

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