LOS FELIZ－COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on business. Many restaurants have already been closed or limited services to prevent coronavirus infection. In order to support Palermo, a local Italian restaurant, a former Los Angeles Police Department sergeant organized the fundraiser on April 19 to save the restaurant.
Palermo Italian restaurant specializes in authentic Italian cuisine and can accommodate 190 people, but now the restaurant is facing its biggest struggle. “We are down 95 %. We do approximately 5% of what we used to do when it’s normal,” Tony Fanara, the owner of Palermo told Canyon News.
“It’s not easy. It’s very hard right now. I don’t know what the rules and regulations are going to be after this thing is over. I don’t know how long it’s going to last and what we have to do.” Fanara told Canyon News that there are too many uncertainties, and no one knows what the next challenge could be. “I feel bad to lay people off, but we have no choices.” Fanara said he had laid off 20 staff in order to keep his restaurant running during this difficult time. However, he also emphasized that once he gets the money from the donation, he will give it to his employees.
“It’s a place police officers went to. It’s a place we took visitors to.” Former LAPD sergeant Joe Oliveri told Canyon News that he has been to the restaurant for 40 years. He organized the fundraiser on gofundme.com to help Fanara and his employees. He encourages people to donate money and support the restaurant.
Oliveri said the whole community knows Fanara because he is always helping people.
“There was a fire in Griffith Park which was not too far from his restaurant. When Tony heard there was a command post, he immediately had his employees start making pizzas for the first responders.” Oliveri said Fanara has always been there for first responders. “He helps everybody. You walk by the restaurants and you can see the homeless people knock on his door. He goes back and gets them a slice of pizza and a Coke and brings it out to them.”
“Tony is one of the nicest guys around and no one deserves the help more than him. My wife and I have been dining there for years and every time is a great time,” said Mark Baca, a donor who left his comment on the fundraising page.
“I feel overwhelmed and I think Tony is overwhelmed.” Oliveri was surprised when he realized almost 950 people have donated money and by Monday, May 4, nearly 62,000 was raised.