A Georgia bar owner removed $3,714 worth of cash stapled to the walls of her restaurant to give to her unemployed bartenders and musicians amid the coronavirus outbreak.
As officials continue to call for stay-at-home orders amid the pandemic, non-essential businesses like The Sand Bar in Tybee Island, were temporarily shut down.
And like other businesses, the sudden closures have left the restaurant – and its employees – struggling financially.
CNN reports that Jennifer Knox, The Sand Bar owner of six years, was sitting inside her now-empty bar in late March when she decided all the bills stapled to the walls could help her workers.
Five volunteers spent nearly five days removing dollar bills stapled to the walls and ceilings of The Sand Bar in Tybee Island, Georgia
The Sand Bar, owned by Jennifer Know (pictured), took a sudden blow when officials ordered non-essential businesses to close amid the pandemic
‘We were sitting there doors locked and I’m like oh my gosh, “there’s money on the walls and we have time on our hands,”‘ she said. ‘We gotta get this money down.’
For almost 15 years, customers have been decorating the small town bar by writing on a dollar bill and stapling it to the walls or ceilings.
Knox, who worked as a bartender at The Sand Bar for seven years before owning it, was determined to help her staff and colleagues.
‘I can’t just sit here and do nothing. I’ll do what I can for my people,’ said Knox, who now owns the bar with her mother, Pam Hessler.
Five volunteers spent nearly four days meticulously removing each of dollar bills from the walls. It took a week to clean and count the cash.
Knox said some bills were covered in dozens of staples and others were different currencies from around the globe.
The Sand Bar revealed that, in total, they had collected nearly $4,000.
After word spread of Knox’s ‘Labor of Love,’ many customers donated an additional to help their community members during the outbreak.
Pictured: The Sand Bar after volunteers removed $3,714 from the walls and ceilings in late March
With the help of donations from customers, Knox distributed a total of $4,104 to her staff
Knox distributed $4,104 to her staff, including four bartenders and two musicians who received $600 each.
Tybee Island, a town of some 3,000 people, is one of Georgia’s most popular vacation sites and depends on tourism to stay afloat.
Knox said that March was the start of their busy season following winter, but the future of The Sand Bar, like other businesses, is uncertain.
She said: ‘We all look out for each other. We are all in this together.’
Inspired by Knox’s good deed, one bartender donated her cut to another Tybee Island bartender.
Donations for The Sand Bar and the Tybee Island service industry are still being accepted.
At the moment, The Sand Bar’s freshly striped walls have been covered in bright colored paint.
Knox isn’t sure if the tradition of stapling money onto walls will continue after the crisis, but she said she’s considering new ways for customers to decorate The Sand Bar.
Georgia is one of the country’s growing COVID-19 hot spots, with more than 10,000 confirmed cases and 370 deaths.
The Sand Bar’s walls are now covered in a fresh coat of paint after more than 3,000 was collected
The city of Albany, with a population of 73,000, has become one of the countries worst outbreak zones with a 5.7 percent fatality rate.
Georgia’s first death was recorded on March 12. The 67-year-old victim had visited Albany in February to attend the funeral of a man it was believed died of natural causes.
Albany’s hospitals have since become overrun, where there were only 14 intensive care units available, as officials struggled to find the source of the outbrea
As of Wednesday, there are 973 confirmed cases and 56 deaths. It now has the fourth highest number of cases per capita in the country.
This comes as local leaders in Georgia’s coastal and beach towns have slammed Governor Brian P. Kemp for re-opening state beaches amid the lockdown.
Since Kemp’s order, locals and visitors have flocked to the beach, in defiance of the White House’s orders to stay indoors and avoid contact with others.
He argued that his move to re-open beaches was an effort to allow Georgians to exercise.