Businesses struggling with coronavirus challenges while still recovering from tornado

Posted at 9:51 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-21 09:07:31-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Some mid-state businesses are dealing with issues caused by the spread of COVID-19 while still trying to recover from the tornado that tore through Middle Tennessee earlier this month.

In East Nashville, it's still easy to see the scars left behind by the tornado system, that killed two people in that neighborhood and killed 25 people overall. There is still plywood on businesses and roofs on the ground. At Greko Greek Street Food on Main Street, the sign that stood outside of the building is still gone.

"We lost power for over a week so we lost all our food, we had some property damage, roof damage, air conditioning damage window broken," Greko Owner Bill Darsinos said.

The restaurant had to shut down after the tornado, and opened more than a week later, but it wasn't able to open long.

"We opened on Wednesday, within a couple days we started to see the decline from the coronavirus," Darsinos said.

Greko's dining area was open just five days. On Monday, the restaurant closed the area because of worries about the spread of the virus and limited its operations to takeout and delivery. Darsinos said the move was made as a safety precaution.

"We realized where this was going and figured it was probably smarter to do that," Darsinos said.

Later that week, metro officials would make that precaution mandatory for restaurants around the area.

Even though the impact of the coronavirus isn't as obvious as the tornado, Darsinos said it's just as devastating.

"This has been much harder than a tornado. With a tornado we knew what you hit, we knew what he had to do to reopen. We knew there was a plan in place and we were going to get there, but this right here is uncertain," Darsinos said.

Uncertainty that has led to fewer customers and fewer employees.

"Having to lay off people to keep our doors open, that's been the hardest part of this whole thing," Darsinos said.

Now he, and other local restaurant owners, are hoping the community can help them stay afloat. Darsinos said the best way to help is to continue to order takeout and delivery food as well as gift cards.