A restaurant owned by Lady Gaga’s father Joe Germanotta has launched a crowdfunding appeal to help pay his employees amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Like many other businesses, Joanne Trattoria in New York City has had to shutdown because of the spread of COVID-19, leaving staff facing an uncertain future.
Instead of paying his employees, however, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise money for the restaurant’s workers. The campaign states Joanne Trattoria has had to layoff almost 30 employees until they are able to open again.
Germanotta wrote on Twitter, “I’m doing the best I can but we had to close Joanne for the month. Our staff needs some help financial. Any help for our employees will be appreciated.”
The fundraising page reads: “Our amazing staff is made up of primarily hourly workers who depend on our payroll, and who overwhelmingly live paycheck to paycheck. As our doors remain closed longer than anticipated, our staff is finding it increasingly difficult to finance the daily necessities to keep them healthy, like groceries and insurance costs – to say nothing of rent, utilities, and other recurring bills.
“We’re asking our Joanne Trattoria community of neighbors, friends, family and fans: If you’ve enjoyed us in the past, have had a friendly encounter with someone on our incredible service staff, or even if you hope to enjoy us in the future, we’d be so appreciative if you would consider donating to our staff to help them through this difficult time.”
The restaurant is asking for $50,000 to cover payroll for two weeks. In addition, 100 percent of the profit would go to the restaurant’s hourly workers to provide those necessary items like food, childcare, and medical expenses.
“We hope to open our doors as soon as is safe, and welcome you all again with a smile and some meatballs. Stay safe and healthy,” the campaign page notes.
Many people have criticized Germanotta’s actions on social media, suggesting his daughter could help pay the restaurant’s workers. One wrote, “Please, as if your family couldn’t afford paying their salary. This is ridiculous.”
Journalist Laura Lyne added, “You’re asking people that are more than likely worse off than you to pay for your staff. Come on, you can afford to pay them.”
Earlier this month, Germanotta told FOX Business he had seen a 70 percent drop in business due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, he added that he planned to take care of his employees at Joanne Trattoria.
“These kids have been with me for eight years… They’re kind of like my children at this point. I intend to keep them on some type of stipend to keep them going,” he said.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is also currently moving to evict his other New York restaurant, Art Bird & Whiskey Bar, from Grand Central Terminal. The eatery received a notice from the MTA because he refused to pay rent to the transit agency, which owns the property.