As a restaurateur, Leva Bonaparte's businesses took a major blow when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The Southern Charm newbie opened up about the devastating experience when she appeared on The Daily Dish podcast on November 13.
When the pandemic hit, "we were all massacred in this city," Leva said. "[Charleston] is a hospitality city, so it was like death was in the air. It's still like that in the city — so many things are shut down, we're so lucky that we were able to sort of ride the wave."
Describing the measures she and her husband had to take to keep Republic and Bourbon N' Bubbles afloat, Leva said: "Lamar and I were really aggressive as soon as things happened. It was like: furloughed everyone that we could, shut everything down, went to skeleton staff, you know, kind of shrewd about it, but that's what allowed us to survive."
The tactics took an emotional toll on the Charleston mother. "It was terrifying. It was scary; it was stressful," Leva said. "The day that I knew we had to furlough... over a hundred employees, I physically... felt like my body was broken down. So, it was tough. Our staff is like family... it was like being in a black hole, like, when's the end? Is there an end in sight? What do we do? So, it was a very hard year, to say the least."
At the time of her podcast appearance, Leva's restaurant and lounge were open at full capacity, but with limited hours. "At this point we're only open till 11 p.m., so we are not thriving. But we're surviving well, and... the biggest thing for us is just sanitization and making sure that we're respecting the guidelines so that we don't have an outbreak, which luckily we haven't," Leva said. "So we are able to continue doing business in a super sanitary, science-respecting environment, so to speak.
In short, "things are coming back, we're doing OK, we're doing good. But it's not where we want to be."
Listen to Leva's complete interview on The Daily Dish podcast below.
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