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Fort Jesse Cafe hoping for community support

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Instead of being the hub of socialization and breakfast, it's quiet here at the Fort Jesse Cafe in Bloomington-Normal.

This twin cities staple has decided to stay completely closed until the governor's orders have been lifted.

"We found there was still some exposure and we were unsure how this whole thing was to play out," said manager Nick Birky.

With no orders to take, about 30 employees are going without income.

"None of us have gone through this experience before and this is a devastating loss," added Birky.

The restaurant's manager said he's encouraged his staff to file for unemployment, but knows the system isn't perfect.

"With 3 plus million people going on unemployment right now, it's a difficult process to get that going. This is something to keep them going while we figure out what's going on with the restaurant," said Birky.

The owner, who's about to give birth, wants to make sure her staff can get by while things are being sorted out, so she started a "Go-Fund-Me".

Instead of supporters placing "to-go" orders, she's asking them to donate straight to her employees.

Right now, more than $10,000 have been raised.

The owner is kicking in a matching $10,000 with the goal being to make sure her staff is getting by during the uncertainty.

Alex Menke

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