Businesses and employees suffer financially from effects of red tide

Employees who work in Charlotte County pushed hard for a local state of emergency for the red tide problem and commissioners decided to issue one, but what does that exactly mean for those workers?

Timothy Birdsey, Owner of TNT Bait & Tackle is known as the ‘Crab Man’ to people in Charlotte County, and he started running his bait shop nearly eight years ago.

“I’m stepping backwards everyday. You know, so it’s bad,” he said, “This store yesterday brought in $158. Just in payroll, I put out $156.”

Birdsey has seen a decline in business for more than a month now and he blames red tide, “It’s devastated the charter boat business which has also devastated the bait business.”

His employees though are the ones who are running bone dry, just like the dead fish on the beach. “It makes me feel really bad okay because I can’t let those people suffer. I’ve got to keep food on their table. They have kids.”

On Englewood Beach, there are dozens of dead fish rotting and there’s hardly a soul out on the beach and when you look take a look on the water there’s no charter boat in sight.

Cherie Messer, also with TNT Bait & Tackle said, “One of my employees is a charter boat captain part time and he had 38 canceled charters in the past month. He just sold his truck yesterday to pay his house mortgage.”

As for the government assisted loans business owners can apply for, Birdsey says he’s not interested because it won’t do anything for the people suffering the most, his employees.

He says he’s working on coming up with new, lucrative ways for his employees to make up for the lost wages.

Business owners affected by red tide can apply for a state loan by clicking HERE.

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