The chamber of commerce in Jenks, Okla has come together to help area restaurants recover from a 2-day shut down that has cost them thousands of dollars in profit.
Problems began on Thursday August 8, 2013 when E. coli was discovered in the city's water supply. After running tests, the health department in Jenks issued a boil order for all citizens, but also ordered that restaurants close their doors on Friday afternoon. Local eateries were closed until late Saturday on the 10th but the damage had already been done.
Jim Blacketer, who owns the Waterfront Grill and Los Cabos, told KTUL Tulsa's Channel 8 that he estimated that he lost between $60,000-$70,000 in profit during the time that his restaurants were closed. The closures did not affect just restaurant owners. Many of these restaurants' support staff also felt the pinch of losing almost two days of work. “It comes to a point where you expect to make a certain amount for shifts. And being closed Saturday, we lost out on a lot of that. So [that's] money for bills and rent everything out of our pocket,” Danielle Sidener, a waitress at Hugo's Restaurant said in an interview with Oklahoma's Own Channel 6.
Due to the severity of the problem, the Jenks Chamber of Commerce attempted to help local restaurants by promoting “I'm Good for Thursday”, a program where the chamber asked city officials to encourage supervisors to give their staff extra long lunch breaks as well as getting people to pick up take out meals on their way home from work. “This is just a simple way for us to come out and say, 'We stand with you, we support you, and we're glad to have you here in town,” Chamber President Josh Driskell told Channel 8. While it is unknown at press time how well the promotion worked, many restaurant owners were grateful for any kind of assistance.
At present, the health department isolated the E. coli to only one testing site.
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