Together Inspired: Local business gives a raise to its 400 employees during COVID-19 outbreak

Together Inspired

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — KGET TV-17 is teaming with Adventist Health Bakersfield to highlight the many inspiring stories in our community.

Lives are transformed every day by people in our community who care, taking action to better the lives of others.

In line with our series called “Together Inspired,” this story highlights a local business that is going above and beyond for their employees during this trying time.

As many Americans face the possibility of unemployment due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Countryside Market and Restaurants decided to honor their more-than 400 workers with a bonus.

“Everyone out there is working hard,” said the Chief Operating Officer of Countryside, Raji Brar. “they are our heroes.”

Brar describes these hourly workers as being on the “front lines” of this pandemic. She says this because a job that mans the cash registers, prepares food, and disinfects surfaces are more-than-essential.

Thus, Brar and the rest of her staff decided to say thank you for her team’s tireless commitment to the company and the Kern community.

“We want them to know they are not alone, and we want them to know that we are thinking of them,” said Brar.

She gave the entire company a raise. Each worker is receiving an extra dollar per-hour worked.

This is an important message Brar wanted to send, despite the fact that her family-run business is struggling to stay afloat in this new normal.

Brar also said, “Our sales are down by 50%.”

In addition to the bonus, Brar arranged for every employee at the Countryside to wear an N95 face mask to protect themselves against the virus.

“We know they’re out there helping and serving, and we have to help them as much as we can,” said Brar.

Manager Gema Diaz, who’s been an employee at Countryside for nearly 15 years, was struck by the generosity.

“It’s good to have bosses that worry about us and people in our community,” said Diaz.

Brar’s only wish is that others would follow suit and realize that even a small gesture can make a world of difference.

“I think if you can make your employees live a bit easier, whatever that might be, I would encourage everyone to do so,” said Brar.

Countryside will also be offering free coffee and drinks to all first responders during this period.

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