Anchorage businesses forced to close doors, employees wonder where to turn

(KTUU)
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaskan businesses and their employees are facing what they're calling unprecedented economic hurdles due to the coronavirus.

On Thursday Channel 2 spoke with Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse, an Anchorage restaurant which on Monday furloughed 70 employees and suspended its operations indefinitely.

"We're handing out some of the last checks today," Humpy's co-owner James Maurer said. "It's very sad. You have people with kids and everything ... and you feel for them, but we just can't afford to keep paying right now while we have no revenue whatsoever."

Tim Farley was in to collect his last check on Thursday. He says he's spent half of his life working in the kitchen at Humpy's. Now, he's unsure how he's going to pay his mortgage and support his wife and two kids.

"I'm having to make decisions on whether I'm going to pay my bills or hold on to my money so that I can feed my family," Farley said, "and that's really what it's come down to. I've frozen my accounts because I don't know if I'm going to make it."

Farley is one of thousands of employees impacted in coronavirus-related shutdowns. Maurer said most businesses in Alaska's food industry have been similarly impacted.

"All the restaurants, the suppliers, the vendors ... everybody," Maurer said. "They all have families and people are getting laid off left and right, and it's just sad to see."

While coronavirus has had devastating impacts on businesses, Alaskans are rallying to help. As of Thursday, United Way of Anchorage said it has raised over $100,000 that will go directly to people impacted by the virus. To get connected to those resources dial 2-1-1.

Click here to donate to the Anchorage CARES: COVID-19 Relief Fund.

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