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'It's tough': How you can help Louisville restaurants still struggling following the pandemic

"We want to get back to the way we were. "

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Even with the excitement of customers safely returning, Local restaurants are still facing some uphill battles.

This week, Atlantic No. 5 announced on Facebook they would be closing their doors after more than five years of serving downtown Louisville.

"It's tough, it's a real thing," said Jared Matthews, owner of Equus in St. Matthews.

Matthews said restaurants are pivoting again, and it can be difficult for some to survive.

"Our staff...we are just kind of tough. It's hard to get staffing right now," Matthews said. "The demand is there we just don't have the number of people to give out the product that we usually do."

Robin Miller with Apron INC. said they have been working to help sustain local restaurants and employees during this time through generous donations. Generating over $620,000 during COVID with two rounds of giving.

Miller said that with restaurants being able to open at rapid pace, they are seeing challenges with supplies, adjusting hours and staffing. Andrea C. Brown, Deputy Director of Economic Development at Louisville Forward, said the biggest issue with the restaurants now is staffing.

"So these restaurants are not able to scale up to the same level that they had pre pandemic in terms of employees," Brown said. "And that is due to some large part of child care issues and issues related to pay and benefits that restaurants have acknowledge that they might need to work on going forward."

"We have definitely sat down and just trying to get a good plan of more. Obviously wages," Matthews said.

Within the last year, Louisville Forward said roughly 20 or more restaurants reportedly closed. Some were due to COVID-19 and others deciding factors. 

Now that restrictions and curfews are to loosening up, businesses are reminding you to keep supporting local.

"We're all in it together and we need to be in it together to make our restaurant scene thrive the way that it did prior to COVID," Miller.

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