Restaurants looking forward to the bounce back as COVID-19 cases decrease

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The pandemic has caused a lot of hardships, especially in the hospitality industry.

Lockdowns forced many small businesses to close for good, health directives putting strict rules on restaurants.

Have questions about the spread of coronavirus? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak. CLICK HERE for more.

Many businesses and restaurants have had to close for good because they couldn’t withstand the ever-changing health directives or lockdowns.

Those who did survive, are hanging by a thread.

“I’m really ready for my people to come back to work,” said Bevis Bell, owner of Bell’s Catfish and Soul Food

Bell hasn’t seen his employees for close to a year.

He owns Bell’s Catfish and Soul Food in Whitehaven.

RELATED: Local experts advise against letting guard down as more receive COVID-19 vaccines

Just like everyone else, his business has taken a hit because of COVID-19.

“It’s hard to stay open and keep your employees afloat and keep them working when you don’t have any revenue coming in like it was,” Bell said.

2020 was not an easy year for Bell.

He had just opened his restaurant when the pandemic hit.

Pickup and delivery service sustained him for a while, but it was a big financial change.

“When you’re used to making $15-20,000 a week or more you drop all the way down to just enough to make payroll and it’s kind of hard when that happens,” Bell said. “You’re looking like oh god, what am I going to do?”

RELATED: Tennessee panel deemed vaccinating inmates a ‘PR nightmare’

To try to find a bright spot in a bad situation, Bell decided to temporarily close his restaurant.

“We’re actually renovating the inside and out,” he said. “we’re pressing and we praying hopefully we get back on our feet and make this happen for the city of Memphis.”

Faith is what pushes Bell to press forward every day.

“I trust God, I know God, I know him for myself what He’s going to do and what He’s going to perform,” he said.

RELATED: Local experts advise against letting guard down as more receive COVID-19 vaccines

For one day, he will reopen these doors again

“That’s what we’re looking at, Good Friday,” he said.

The toughest part of the year for Bell is the fact that he had a hard time getting any kind of assistance from the city and even the federal government.