By Rhode Island Commerce

With Thanksgiving and a busy holiday season approaching, local restaurant owners are calling on Rhode Islanders to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 in order to save their industry.

In a series of public service announcements, the state’s restaurant community is highlighting the severe impact of the pandemic on their businesses and urging their neighbors to take preventative measures such as social distancing and proper mask-wearing.

The restaurant community’s calls for action will air on local radio stations and various social media channels beginning Monday, Nov. 23 and continue throughout the holiday season.

The full text of messages from local restaurateurs Geramie Callahan [] and David Lahousse [] are included below:

Geramie Callahan, owner, Fluke Newport:

This has been an exceptionally difficult year for all of us in the restaurant community. We’re hurting, but we’re trying our absolute best, day-in and day-out, to follow the rules, to stay open, and to continue to serve you in the safest way possible.

So on behalf of the restaurant community, we’re asking all Rhode Islanders to return the favor. Over the next few weeks, we need you to try your best to stop the spread.

Please: Follow the rules. Wear your masks. Don’t have parties or large Thanksgiving dinners.

Because here’s the honest truth: If we don’t get the spread of this virus under control soon, my restaurant – and countless others – won’t survive.

It’s on all of us now. So please, from my family to yours: We need your help.If we want to get through this, it’s going to take all of us, working together, and being considerate of one another.

Thank you, and stay safe.

David Lahousse, owner, Kay’s Restaurant and Lodge Pub & Eatery:

Because of the Coronavirus, restaurants have been hit extremely hard this year. 

COVID has led to layoffs and cutbacks across the industry, and many of your favorite restaurants are teetering on the brink. 

So on behalf of all Rhode Island restaurants, I’m asking you, Rhode Island: Over the next few weeks, please, follow the rules. Don’t have parties or large Thanksgiving gatherings. Wear your masks, and don’t crowd retail stores. 

Your decision to have people over at your house will put my employees – and thousands of others across the industry – at risk of losing their jobs. 

It’s going to take all of us, working together, following the rules, to move the needle.

If we can’t get this virus under control, I’m worried your favorite restaurant might not be there when things are back to normal.

Thank you, and have a safe, happy holiday season.