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  • - It is now five o'clock.

  • I've washed my hands twice, sanitized three times,

  • and have maybe teared up about five times.

  • It is just so insane right now.

  • (sad music)

  • My name is Sakura,

  • and I am the CEO of a family-run Japanese restaurant group

  • in Manhattan, and we have 16 different locations

  • with 12 different concepts of Japanese food.

  • It's been four days since the city decided to shut down

  • all restaurants dining in, and for the past four days,

  • I've barely slept.

  • I have a daughter who is 15 months.

  • She just woke me up, and I just put her back to sleep.

  • Now I am on my computer, trying to log much my nanny worked.

  • I'm a single mom, and because I've been working a lot

  • through this coronavirus crisis,

  • my nanny has been very essential.

  • So that's what I'm doing at 4:33 in the morning,

  • as well as trying to get ready for the day.

  • It's been a very, very crazy four days.

  • I know it's very different

  • from what a lot of people are experiencing right now.

  • I just wanna show you what my day looks like.

  • Trying to create an online infrastructure.

  • For example, at Hi-Collar, we do not do takeout,

  • and to suddenly have to close our doors

  • means we have to set up something

  • to support that kind of business.

  • Things are just changing every single day,

  • so we, as a company, we're also changing every single day.

  • I'm hoping that today we'll see an uptick

  • in online orders.

  • I'm just keeping my fingers crossed.

  • All right, guys, it's almost 5:29.

  • I need to get some sleep

  • before I rush off to the office tomorrow

  • to tackle another day.

  • (alarm beeping)

  • It's 8:20, and I've pressed snooze ample enough times,

  • so it's time for me to get up, take my temperature.

  • 97.3, so we're all set.

  • And now it's time to get ready.

  • (upbeat music)

  • Done.

  • Picking out clothes for my daughter.

  • In order to keep my family safe,

  • in order to see my daughter, I have to put on a mask,

  • wash my hands, and then say hi to her.

  • And I try not to hug her or kiss her.

  • Just, it's hard not to.

  • No hugs.

  • That's probably one of the hardest parts.

  • Even just patting her head

  • makes me feel better.

  • (speaking foreign language)

  • I try to maximize my time with her in the morning.

  • So the nanny, I told her not to come into the city anymore,

  • 'cause I also don't want to get her sick.

  • Luckily, my mom is watching her.

  • I'm trying to enjoy these little moments with my daughter.

  • It's 10:14, and I am leaving my apartment

  • after having a very heated discussion

  • about what to do with each restaurant.

  • It's a family business, and it's very difficult

  • when you're talking about closing businesses

  • that have been part of a family,

  • and so to talk about what are we going to do,

  • how are we going to take care of staff,

  • it's a very difficult conversation.

  • I have to say goodbye to my daughter,

  • who, you know, screaming and crying and says "Mama."

  • It's just hard to tape.

  • Now I'm going to bike to work.

  • I am on 10th Street now, making my first stops,

  • places that are open.

  • Make sure everyone is doing okay.

  • Only takeout at Rai Rai Ken.

  • While I was at Hi-Collar,

  • we had a few neighbors stop by say,

  • "How can I help?

  • "Would buying a coffee help you guys?"

  • We said, "Yes, yes, of course."

  • Even a little bit helps for your local places.

  • So this is my office.

  • Washing my hands.

  • It's 11:34, and so far, what we've done is

  • set up so that our graphic team can clock in

  • and clock out remotely.

  • We've talked about finalizing the phone number,

  • so that any employees who have questions

  • about unemployment and things like that

  • have one central phone number.

  • At 2:30, I got a call from my boss,

  • telling us that he has made the decision

  • to close all of the locations,

  • and then how much we'll need to sustain the business.

  • I'm trying to make myself feel better with omurice.

  • This is my ultimate comfort food.

  • It makes me feel like a kid that's happy.

  • Trying to turn this off

  • so that we don't get any more locations.

  • This is what it looks like now.

  • I've been working on these New York Warn paperwork

  • just so we are in legal compliance

  • with letting the state, as well as our employees,

  • know about our sudden closures.

  • It is now five o'clock.

  • I've washed my hands twice, sanitized three times,

  • and have maybe teared up about five times.

  • I think that's the right decision,

  • but I really wish that it was communicated better,

  • or if we had more of a plan in place.

  • But this is the reality of what our situation is like.

  • From just a legal standpoint,

  • from an operational standpoint,

  • from an emotional standpoint, it's just insane.

  • Now our conference room has become a vegetable shop.

  • We have all these vegetables,

  • as well as things like homemade mayonnaise.

  • We have still so much stuff,

  • and so we're asking the employees,

  • who are choosing to come in to pick up their checks,

  • to bring a bag so that they can take home some stuff.

  • I am at Sakagura, East Village,

  • picking up the last batch of bentos.

  • And I'm going to package them for delivery.

  • It's six o'clock in Soho,

  • and look how empty the streets are.

  • It's just always so wonderful to see friends,

  • especially friends in the industry.

  • They just still put a smile on a face.

  • So now what I'm doing is getting the reports ready

  • to close out everything.

  • Bring that to the office tomorrow morning.

  • I'm not gonna be serving my friends who come and eat here,

  • and that's really sad for us in the hospitality industry,

  • because that's why we're in it.

  • Seeing the customers excited to be here,

  • and it's really the industry

  • where you need social interactions

  • and to be physically be together.

  • Especially in New York City, where we don't have any space,

  • restaurants are where we come together,

  • with friends, with lovers, with coworkers, with...

  • family.

  • And to not be witness to all those celebrations

  • and gatherings and not be a place for that,

  • that's what this virus has done to us.

  • I don't know when.

  • But in some shape or form, people will be back.

  • Hopefully, we will be back.

  • And we're going to celebrate.

  • You know, be together again.

  • I'm locking up the door for Sakagura, East Village.

  • Just making my rounds to make sure

  • that all of our places are closed.

  • Tomorrow, I'll be coming back

  • and making sure that anything that can be turned off

  • will be turned off completely

  • so we don't waste any unnecessary energy,

  • and also money.

  • - Bye bye, Mari-san!

  • - Bye bye!

  • - Yo-san, bye bye!

  • (woman speaking foreign language)

  • - I'm walking home.

  • I'm just excited to get home, wash my hands,

  • take my shower, and see my sleeping baby.

  • My parents are over there.

  • And I am staying here.

  • Nice and clean.

  • I've washed my hands, used alcohol to wipe my hands

  • and my phone.

  • Wear my mask.

  • Scan, 96.9.

  • I'm okay to go next door.

  • I finally put my daughter to sleep,

  • put the laundry in the machine,

  • and having a minute to kind of reflect on the day.

  • It's just hard to kind of wrap my mind around everything,

  • and I don't think anyone can.

  • I'm just at a loss of knowing how to support the people

  • who make our business run,

  • but what I can do is try to come up with several plans

  • to put into place when things change.

  • But maybe closing will give us the peace of mind

  • to exactly know that our staff is healthy,

  • and I'll get to spend more time with my daughter.

  • I've probably seen my daughter maybe a total of three hours

  • in the past four days.

  • So I'm looking forward to spending time with her.

  • And my job still continues.

  • Before I sign off, I wanna say,

  • "Thank you for your support."

  • I truly hope that I and my staff

  • will able to welcome you back to our restaurants.

  • Whether that's in two weeks or a month or months,

  • I hope to see you again soon.

  • Good night.

  • (gentle music)

- It is now five o'clock.

Subtitles and keywords

A2 BEG daughter clock nanny standpoint washed speaking foreign

A Day In The Life of A Restaurant Owner During Lockdown

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    Summer   posted on 2020/05/04
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