South Boston restaurant owner starts ‘winter fund’ for employees

South Boston restaurant owner starts ‘winter fund’ for employees

SOUTH BOSTON — As restaurants continue to struggle financially this winter with tough COVID-19 restrictions in place, one owner in Southie wants to make sure his employees can keep their own food on the table.

The co-owner of Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar, Mike Shaw, is raising money to pay his full-time employees a livable salary through the months of February and March. He’s calling it ‘The Winter Fund.’

“A couple of weeks ago we realized that our staff was showing up to work less and less, not by choice, but because of the restrictions. The curfew was obviously really challenging to navigate,” he said Saturday.

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At 25% capacity, Shaw said his employees have not been getting the hours of work they need.

The goal of the fund is to raise $150,000 to help employees at both of his restaurants: Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar and Fat Baby. So far, he’s almost hit his goal with roughly 2,000 people donating through a GoFundMe account and via Venmo.

“We decided to try our very best to do something about it and ease that financial burden through the winter for our full-time team, especially for the months of February and March, which are going to be really challenging,” he said.

Shaw told Boston 25 News that raising the money to help his staff has been an incredible morale boost for those working through the pandemic. Money over the $150,000 goal will go toward helping other restaurant employees in the area, he said.

“This was just a little bit of a way to show that we’re with you, we believe in you, we want you here for the long haul and we know that this career path is the right career path, and we’re going to do whatever we can to help you get there,” he said.

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