James Magazine May-June 2020 - Magazine - Page 20
“He was always the last to leave the Capitol each day.
He cared so deeply about the people of his state.”
uch a comment was often heard from many of his colleagues about state Sen. Jack Hill of Reidsville, who
passed away in April at age 75. He was truly a hard-working
public servant and a respected Southern gentleman.
A concern for better government and helping people led
the Georgia Southern University grad and Tattnall County
grocer to run and win election in 1990 to represent a rural
Senate district. He was a proud hometown booster, church
member and civic leader who knew his customers and
their families by name— no doubt a big reason why he was
re-elected time and again.
A patriot who believed in honoring God, country and
family, Colonel Jack Hill found time during his busy career to
serve for over 33 years in the Georgia National Guard both
as a unit commander and state inspector general. He served
under Democratic and Republican governors, and all honored him as the epitome of a citizen-legislator who balanced
sound fiscal conservativism with compassion.
As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, he knew
Georgia’s budget inside and out. Indeed, every Georgian
has been impacted for the good in recent years due to his
wisdom, skill and patience in working with fellow legislators and governors when it came to crunching numbers and
establishing budget priorities. He will be especially missed
as the 2020 General Assembly finishes its work.
We salute the life and career of Jack Hill, especially for
his exemplary public service.
“But we will get through this and our priority is on the
recovery,” Pate emphasizes.
All across Georgia the restaurant industry, too, is
taking a hard blow. The industry lost an estimated $813
million in sales and more than 96,000 jobs during the first
22 days of March, according to Karen Bremer, CEO of the
Georgia Restaurant Association.
Bremer said a survey of restaurant owners across
huge Georgia economic generator hit hard by
the coronavirus is the hospitality/convention industry. Restaurants, hotels, convention centers
and entertainment venues are on the front line of those
affected financially. But even in these uncertain times,
many in the industry are looking for innovative ways to
carry them through. Restaurants have gone from dine-in
facilities to specializing in take-out, delivery and curb
service. Meeting and conference venues are finding new
ways to market their facilities, and convention centers are
converting their facilities for other uses.
All are focused on bouncing back from the impacts of
COVID-19 when given the all clear to re-open.
William Pate, president and CEO of the Atlanta
Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB), says he closed
out March expecting a 70 percent reduction in business
for that month, a 95 percent reduction in April and an 95
percent reduction in May. Smith Travel Research estimates hotel occupancy in the city of Atlanta from March
was 33 percent and, sadly, other Georgia cities and those
across the country are obviously seeing similar downtrends or worse.
Ninety-four percent of Georgia restaurant operators say their total dollar sales volume during the
period from March 1 to March 22 was lower than
it was during the same period in 2019.
Six percent of operators reported higher sales,
while none of the respondents say their sales
were about the same as they were during the
same period in 2019.
On average, restaurant operators reported a 54
percent decline in sales during the period from
March 1 to March 22.
Seventy-eight percent of restaurant operators
laid off employees. Fifty-seven percent anticipate
doing more of this during the next 30 days.
Seventy-eight percent of operators cut employee
hours and 65 percent of operators reduced their
hours of operation.
Forty-nine percent of operators temporarily
changed their business model to off-premises only.
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