WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Businesses are among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, one locally run restaurant group is stepping up and doing what they can to help their employees in a time of need.

“We have a window here at Savoy that’s pretty conducive for this situation. We can take orders, they come in online, and they come to the window and we hand it out,” said Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director at Max Restaurant Group.

Pierre Tannoux was among those picking up dinner from the West Hartford restaurant.

“It’s my son’s birthday today and he wished to have pizza, so we figured we’d come by and make him happy and make them happy. It’ tough times for local businesses” Tannoux said.

There’s been an outpouring of support for local businesses and restaurants. Places are either offering take out and delivery or closing its doors altogether amidst the pandemic.

“We see people who not only are coming to get their regular meal but coming because they want to support our staff and the people we’ve had to lay off,” Mitchell said.

To help the employees, the Max Restaurant Group, of which Savoy is part of, has started a relief fund. For the next few days, 100 percent of all Max gift card sales will go directly into the fund.

“There was so much concern in the community that we wanted to connect our guests concerns with employee’s needs,” said Scott Smith, Vice President & Partner of Max Restaurant Group.

Scott Smith says it’s impacted the business at every level

“We’ve had to lay off about 650 people company-wide. The very early days it seemed like it might only last ten days, two weeks. When it became apparent it could go on for months, we wanted to make sure they could apply for unemployment and get the benefits they could get so they have some subsistence while they wait through this,” Smith said.

Smith says one thing they’re doing with this money is buying and dispersing gift cards to get things like groceries, but their help goes far beyond that.

“We do know people have important medical needs and things like that that we’ll want to help with. The amount of immediate attention from people was unbelievable,” Smith said.

If you want to buy a gift card and support the Max Restaurant Group Employee Relief Fund, you have until Friday.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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