For the businesses of the Merrimack Valley hardest hit by the Columbia Gas disaster, the challenges surrounding COVID-19 are a chilling reminder of the economic impact a crisis brings.
It’s been a devastating couple of years for local businesses, said Danielle Berdahn, who owns Yella on Post Office Avenue in Andover, as well as Yella on the Water in Gloucester, with her husband, Carlo.
Facing distress and hardship in the aftermath of 2018’s Columbia Gas disaster, a year and a half later, COVID-19 puts many in a difficult financial predicament once again.
For many who overcame adversity, the gas disaster has made them stronger.
“It will be difficult, but we’ve been through tough times before and we’ve survived with the help of the community," Berdahn said. "Slowly, but steadily, we’ll move forward together. For all the challenges we’re facing, we’re blessed to be in a community that supports its small businesses.”
What will businesses be doing during the crisis? Many restaurants, including Yella, will continue to offer meals to help families get through these stressful times.
Yella has created a special takeout menu that includes family-style meals available for curbside pickup.
“As we all know, food has a way of making everything better," Berdahn said.
To help their team, Yella has offered help navigating the unemployment process, financial assistance and complimentary meals for them and their families during the closure.
The Berdahns are hopeful for the future.
“This is a unique opportunity for busy families to reconnect," Danielle Berdahn said. " We’re looking forward to being a part of that and having guests come together, enjoying our food at their own dining room tables.”