As the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi continues, restaurants are struggling to cope with the outages.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
As the water crisis in Jackson, Miss., heads into its fourth day, some restaurants have shut down. Others say they are struggling to stay open as their costs skyrocket. As Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Maya Miller reports, restaurants were already suffering from the city’s water woes before this latest calamity.
MAYA MILLER, BYLINE: Soule’ coffee and bubble tea is in Jackson’s historic arts district. Inside, the design is minimalist, with clean lines and work from Black artists on the wall.
(SOUNDBITE OF LIQUID POURED INTO CUP)
MILLER: Ezra Brown opened Soule’ about a month ago. Even in that short time, he’s grown tired of Jackson’s water problems.
EZRA BROWN: Eighty-five to 90% of our drinks in this area are iced.
MILLER: When Soule’ opened, the city was already under a boil water notice due to potentially contaminated water.
BROWN: If you’ve got a boil alert – so we actually have to get our ice from another city ’cause we’re rolling through 100-plus pounds of ice every single day; a hundred-plus pounds of ice and not including the water. So if you want a lemonade, if you want a green tea, you want all this kind of stuff, that’s all bottled water that we have to have.
MILLER: Dozens of Jackson restaurant owners wrote a letter to Mississippi’s governor and Jackson’s mayor even before this current crisis. They said these repeated boil water orders and outages were costing them hundreds of dollars a day. And now they say it’s even worse, since the water treatment plant failed earlier this week.
Pat Fontaine heads Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association. He says restaurants in Jackson are losing customers.
PAT FONTAINE: There’s, you know, some fear of the water supply not being fit for consumption, so they choose to go to outlying cities that do not have the boil water notice.
MILLER: And don’t have porta potties – some Jackson restaurants have had to rent them since their toilets won’t flush because of the low water pressure. Jackson’s mayor estimates it will cost a billion dollars to fix the city’s water system. In the meantime, it’s still not clear when the water will be safe enough to drink. Ezra Brown says he’s doing all he can to make his new cafe successful, but he needs the city and state to do their part.
BROWN: Now I need you all to do you all job. Give me clean water.
MILLER: While Brown waits for that clean tap water, about 600 members of the National Guard are working with the city to pass out bottled water to some 180,000 residents.
For NPR News, I’m Maya Miller.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.
See more food service industry news, reviews and products at FSX, the Food Service Exchange, the commercial food service industry’s go-to source for purchasing overstock, discontinued, and scratch-and-dent equipment and supplies, and you will be shocked at how good our prices are (an average discount of over 50% of today’s market price).
The FSX online marketplace provides restaurants, caterers, schools and other food service facilities with access to a wide assortment of products. The exchange allows for direct sales between pre-approved sellers and buyers, ensuring a seamless, reliable, and fast timely transaction process. Whether it is a model from a previous year or an item with a slight imperfection, buyers can purchase anything they need from our extensive pool of pre-selected, certified top equipment manufacturers and dealers. With Food Service Exchange, customers can expect premium equipment and supplies, amazing prices, timely shipping, and consistent satisfaction. Find out more information today about FSX Food Service Commercial Kitchen Equipment and Restaurant Supplies at 20 – 50% off market prices, with a minimum 90-day warranty. Plus, 5-star customer service reviews, unmatched 90-day warranty, and always free shipping!