Amazon is paying a gay bar $200,000 to make and deliver meals to first responders in Virginia during the coronavirus crisis.
The online retail giant recently moved its headquarters to Arlington in Virginia. In a bid to support the state through the pandemic, it has enlisted a local queer eatery, Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant, to provide 10,000 free meals for police, firefighters and frontline healthcare workers.
“During this unprecedented time, Amazon is working to not only support our frontline workers and first responders across the Arlington area, but also our most vulnerable neighbours in immediate need,” a spokesperson for Amazon in a statement.
“We are proud to work alongside Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant, a beloved local restaurant in our new neighbourhood, to ensure that we’re thanking our neighbours who are keeping us safe, and caring for our neighbours who need extra support right now with hearty meals throughout May.”
In the past week Freddie’s has already prepared and delivered over 400 of the meals to the county police department, sheriff’s office, and emergency communications centre.
Freddie’s owner Freddie Lutz told the Washington Blade he was “delighted” to accept Amazon’s offer to help first responders, whose sacrifice he and his staff greatly admire.
The support from Amazon has enabled the gay bar owner to bring back most of the employees he had to lay off when the state imposed a coronavirus lockdown. At his suggestion, Amazon also agreed to involve three other neighbouring venues in the project.
Gay bars across the country are in a fight to survive amid the coronavirus, with many already struggling before the pandemic hit.
As many as 37 per cent of America’s gay bars shut down from 2007 to 2019, leaving LGBT+ people without a place to gather in public and LGBT+ workers without employment.
Unfortunately this number is likely to increase before the pandemic ends – which is why alternative forms of income in the meantime can make all the difference.