SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In Sioux Falls, business owner Mark Fonder made the choice to close his restaurants on Sunday. As KELOLAND’s Travis Fossing explains, a picture posted to social media played a role in that decision.
Barrel House and Krav’N owner Mark Fonder has been abiding by safety guidelines, but a picture of a packed parking lot at Krav’N posted Saturday by Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken pushed Fonder to close his doors.
“I mean, if the mayor wanted us shut down, I just wish he’d make us instead of shaming us on Twitter and Facebook,” Fonder said.
Fonder says the safety of customers and employees also played a significant role in his decision.
“I didn’t stay open for my benefit. We didn’t make much money, but I have 150 employees, they’ve got kids to feed. That was my biggest fear was telling them guys. Everything I’ve done with business has been successful, and to tell these guys they don’t have a job is just heartbreaking. Worst day of my life,” Fonder said.
“Our toughest part in the conversations Mark and I had were what about the employees? What are we going to do for the employees?,” Barrel House general manager Terry Scheu said.
While the restaurants will be closed to the public, Scheu says Fonder will take care of his employees, starting with sending $7,500 worth of perishable items home with staff.
“All the perishable foods, they’re going home with the employees. He has me post a sign in the bus station that said we will get together for family style meals so that nobody is hungry. I will make sure personally that nobody has to worry about their rent. These are things that he’s going to do for his employees. We were worried about those people, those are our people. We’re concerned,” Scheu said.
As for Fonder, he hopes the grey area surrounding coronavirus and local restaurants becomes more clear.
“You know, I just wish the governor or the mayor, one of them that has the authority, would tell all the restaurants to shut down if they want to do it,” Barrel House & Krav’N owner Mark Fonder said.
Fonder hopes the closures don’t last too long and has started a Facebook page to help keep employees, and the public, updated.