Virginia Beach Restaurant Association speaks out about struggles dealing with coronavirus outbreak

Posted at 1:27 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 16:40:26-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As unemployment numbers skyrocket, businesses are struggling to make ends meet.

News 3 met up with Virginia Beach Restaurant Association President BJ Baumann, who explained the impact locally and how the association is taking action.

Baumann has owned Rockafeller’s Restaurant at Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach for 30 years.

She said she had to lay off 49 people.

“When I had to lay off employees that have been with me for 20, 25, 30 years, it was one of the most heartbreaking things that I’ve ever had to go through,” said Baumann, “These people have worked with me through good days and bad days, and it was gut-wrenching.”

She said as the president of the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association, she has been fielding dozens of calls from business owners asking her and others what help is available, how to get access to it and the logistics to the system.

Help is on the way as lawmakers work to bring relief, but Baumann said navigating the system is confusing.

“It has been a continually changing and evolving process. Information that we get in the morning can change in the afternoon,” said Baumann.

She said the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association has waived the new membership dues for 2020.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a restaurant with five employees or 500 employees, we want everybody to be able to get help through this,” said Baumann. “We are getting information out as fast as we can."

She said there is a lot of misinformation out there. She said the Association is working get the right information to restaurant owners as soon as it becomes available in an effort to get employees back to work.

“I made a promise to them that I’m going to work hard and do everything that I can to have a business to come back to and have their jobs again,” said Baumann.

Here is a link to the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association website:

Facebook Live with Virginia Beach Restaurant Association President BJ Baumann:

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