FORT MYERS, Fla. — Right now as some are worried about making ends meet, others are stepping up to try and help.
Publix supermarket is one of several lending a helping hand, at least to some.
One small business owner says this news couldn’t have come soon enough.
Frank Pilarski co-owner of Philly Junction in Fort Myers says these last few weeks have been rough, as his business is now limited to take-out in order to try and slow the spread of coronavirus.
He says sales have nearly cut in half.
“You can have a great day on take-out today, and tomorrow you won’t,” said Pilarski.
He often worries the restaurant won't be able to withstand the losses.
“Large corporate offices have some wiggle room whereas local business don’t,” said Frank Pilarski.
The owner of The Mathew Thomas Salon says he is also facing hard times.
“Business has dropped off tremendously, I mean people are so scared they don’t want to come out…frankly, I am very concerned about my business,” said Mathew Thomas.
Even though business is slow, bills continue to come in.
“For every month these doors are closed it would be about a $10,000 loss that we had to find a way to catch up on, so you are just hoping that someone answers those prayers,” said Mathew Thomas.
Publix recently announced they are offering rent relief to businesses operating in Publix-owned shopping centers that have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The relief package includes waiving rent for two months, as well as waiving payments for common area maintenance fees and taxes, regardless of the tenant’s access to other relief or assistance.
“As a company that started as a small business 90 years ago, Publix wants to help businesses renting from us survive the economic impact of these unexpected closures,” said Publix Director of Communications Maria Brous.
Some local business owners can now take a sigh of relief as they figure out how to push through these next couple of months.
“It is unbelievable because we can take care of our employees and keep them up and going so yea its an amazing feeling, ” said Pilarski.
Like any great business owner, he is taking this time to plan for the future.
“This allows us to relax and get a game plan going for how to move forward, ” said Pilarski
Publix operates over 190 shopping centers in Florida.
Correction on 11:34pm on March. 31, 2020
The story previously misstated that all local businesses in Publix owned shopping centers would receive assistance. It is only those closed due to the pandemic.