Atlanta businesses await mayor's $5 million relief amid water crisis

Help may soon be on the way for many Atlanta businesses that report thousands of dollars in losses following a series of water main breaks. But some small businesses say they need help now.  

Mayor Andre Dickens announced that the city would establish a $5-million financial relief fund for businesses that have been affected by the water crisis on Monday.

Spewing water and lost revenue has been a toxic combination for so many Atlanta businesses affected by the water crisis. 

"For me, every day matters," Trinket Lewis, owner of Morelyfe Juice, commented. 


From Morelyfe Juice Company on Cascade Road to the Eleventh Street Pub in Midtown, the water main breaks have taken a huge toll on many businesses. 

"Over the last three days, our sales have decreased between 58 to 62%, which means I've had to call everyone off," owner Trinket Lewis confided.  

At least the juice bar doors remained open with fewer employees and no running water.  

That was not the case at the Eleventh Street Pub. Flying debris from the roadway burst the front window at the popular pub, forcing the doors to close for weeks, if not months.

RELATED NEWS: Atlanta water crisis: Midtown water service slowly restored

"We are still trying to assess the damage. We got a team coming out to see how much mold occurred will have to do mold remediation, and I have no idea when we will be able to reopen," Mike Taylor with Eleventh Street Pub expressed.

A local attorney says suing the city may be difficult to do due to immunity issues but if you can prove the problem was longstanding, there may be a loophole.  

"You just get straight to, 'Hey you knew this was a problem. You've known about it. You maintained a nuisance and the nuisance you have maintained has cost my business a certain amount of loss,' which you then have to document," Attorney Bruce Hagen explained.  

Attorney Hagan says the best and easiest way to recoup your money is through a "business Interruption" policy which many business owners secured after the pandemic.

How Atlanta mayor's emergency water relief for businesses would work

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens

Lewis, other business owners and residents on Monday vented their frustrations outside City Hall. Hours later, Mayor Dickens announced Councilman Matt Westmoreland was working on a program to provide financial relief for small businesses that lost money during the crisis.

"This ordinance will allow us to provide some support to institute a program at Invest Atlanta to provide support to Atlanta small businesses that have been adversely affected by this weekend’s events regarding the disruption in water service. We want to help them regain their footing," Mayor Dickens said.

Lewis says the program means she’ll be able to pay her employees. "It’s going to help tremendously. It’s going to make up for sales. I feel like the city is listening. I feel heard. We feel heard."

Lance Robertson, co-owner of CBD Health and Wellness, says he lost about 30-percent of his business due to the water outage. He said the program will "dramatically" help his business.