RICHLAND, Wash. - Small businesses all over the region are having to deal with difficult decisions and may not survive the economic shutdown. The spread of COVID-19 is possibly doing more hurt to those who aren't infected by the deadly virus, because of the closing of businesses and record unemployment.

"What are we going to do?" Tagaris Winery Executive Chef Josh Duquist, heard about the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order for non-essential businesses to shut down and his first thought was about helping the employees. Administrative staff at the winery instantly began to devise a plan.


PHOTO: Tagaris Winery Facebook Page

Perishable food from the restaurant was passed out to all of the Tagaris hourly employees, but that still wasn't enough. Once the restaurant shut down, none of the hourly employees would be paid. "Our management team decided that we were going to go ahead and set up a relief fund for our employees." said Duquist.

Ten percent of all wine sales are going to the fund and $25 of each $100 gift card will go into the fund as well. Every single Tagaris Winery hourly employee on the payroll, will see a portion from that relief fund. As of March 27th, the relief fund is nearly $6,000.

"One of our employees...he works two jobs to support a family. One of those jobs is at a hotel. Both of his jobs got shut down." Duquist said the employee was speechless when he saw the money from the fund on his paycheck.

Chef Duquist added that he believes we have to look forward to the future because something more will come out of this pandemic. "Anyone can contribute to the relief fund. You're getting wine. We're giving back. You don't have to support us, support what you can to help people out."

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