ATHENS, Ga. - Health officials want to flatten the curve of coronavirus cases, but other organizations hope to flatten the curve of economic losses for local restaurants.
That’s the goal of the Athens Works Initiative, which brings together the community, essential businesses, and local restaurants.
“Our DNA in Athens, our definitive features include innovation, creativity as well as grit and resilience," said Erin Barger, project manager for Envision Athens. "Athens Works Initiative was created to ensure that what we love most about Athens are the qualities we work to preserve.”
Home to the B-52s and REM, Athens is known for more than its music scene. The city’s locally-owned restaurants give it its culture.
That’s why community organizers created the Athens Works Initiative.
Athens Works Initiative is bringing together the community, essential businesses and local restaurants. (Ashley Soriano / FOX 5)
The campaign asks individuals and essential businesses to pledge a percentage of their income or revenue to keep the restaurants open.
Nathan Goodman owns Maepole, and he says the AWI has driven customers to his restaurant.
“Initially for us, it was good to see that there are people who are about Athens as a whole," Goodman said. “It shows that local businesses care about local restaurants.”
Goodman said he will not reopen the dining room any time soon. For now, his business relies on to-go orders and the help of AWI.
Athens is teaming up to help keep its restaurants open. (Ashley Soriano / FOX 5)
One of the community organizer's orders take out each Friday for his family of five.
“We’re really just asking our community members don’t squirrel this away into a savings account," said Fenwick Broyard, an AWI community organizer. This is the season where we need to ensure we keep our business partners afloat.”
The catastrophic events on 9/11 brought people together. Although the coronavirus pandemic is different, Barger says it is bringing people together in a similar yet different way.
“What separates our opportunity right now from that time in our history is our inability to literally come together, but figuratively and in ways that really matter, not only can we come together, we must come together.”