Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
First Coast Connect

#SaveRestaurants; Skills USA Comes To Jax; St. Augustine Distillery; Tax-Free Weekend

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
File photo of an empty restaurant

  A new national movement is afoot to save restaurants. #SaveRestaurants seeks to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s 500,000 independent restaurants.

Millions of restaurant employees have been laid off amidst closures, capacity limits, and quarantine. Independent restaurants employ 11 million people in the US and indirectly support 5 million more ancillary businesses.">Morgan Freeman loaned his voice to the movement, stating that people of color and single mothers are disproportionately affected by closures. Freeman urges constituents to call their congresspeople to demand that passing of the Restaurants Act.


We spoke to local restaurateurs Allison D’Aurizio, co-owner of 1784 Bakehouse in Springfield, and Laura Jarvis, co-owner of Cool Moose Cafe in Riverside, about their experiences running independent restaurants during a pandemic.

Related: Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

Skills USA Comes To Jacksonville

The Florida chapter of Skills USA is coming to Jacksonville. The organization is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working collaboratively to improve the nation’s skilled workforce. The organization helps equip middle school, high school, and college/postsecondary students with the technical, workplace, and academic skills to achieve workforce success. Jessica Graber is the state director for Skills USA. She spoke to us about the program.

St. Augustine Distillery

The St. Augustine Distillery joined distilleries nationwide to do their civic duty to make hand sanitizer during the pandemic. As the need for additional hand sanitizer producers has dwindled, the St. Augustine Distillery must refocus its business once again.


Related: St. Augustine Distillery Wants To Ship Bottles Straight To Customers


Mike Diaz, the distillery’s CFO and co-founder, hopes Florida will follow in New York and California’s footsteps and provideeconomic relief for distilleries. The Distilled Spirits Council islobbying Congress to lift bans on shipping alcohol directly to consumers. Diaz said the St. Augustine Distillery is producing bourbon again, and selling it onsite and in retailers, but only seeing half of its usual profits.


Tax-Free Weekend


Back-to-school shopping looks different this year. Despite many families working with smaller budgets due to the pandemic, the National Retail Federation expects a banner shopping weekend for this season’s back-to-school shopping. We spoke to Mary Svoboda, interim president and CEO of Jax Federal Credit Union, about what should be on your shopping list and how to make the most of the weekend.

Katherine Hobbs can be reached at or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.

First Coast Connect first coast connect
Katherine Hobbs was Associate Producer of talk shows at WJCT until 2022.