Created: Tue, 13 Aug 2013 04:52:00 EST
Updated: Tue, 13 Aug 2013 07:42:39 EST
With scheduled furlough days coming to an end for civilian workers at Robins Air Force Base, area businesses are taking inventory of the economic squeeze caused by the unpaid days off.
John Mitchell, who owns John's Mexican Restaurant, across the street from the base, is offering discounted lunch specials during furlough days. He says he's doing all he can to help support the workers and draw in business, but even he admits, he didn't know what to expect when furloughs kicked in.
"I actually sent home about six employees five weeks ago," Mitchell said.
Mitchell says his restaurant has lost a couple thousand dollars a week with the low lunch turnout. The deserted restaurant scene is something civilian workers have noticed as they battle a reduced paycheck.
"Usually there are a lot more people out and about and shopping, so hopefully this furlough ending will end that and will help boost the economy back down here," said Melanie Amerson, a civilian worker with one furlough day left.
Warner Robins Mayor Chuck Shaheen says the latest sales tax report isn't out yet, but says past reports show a trending 6% decline. Shaheen he's hopeful things will pick back up as people gain back confidence in their income.
"Once they realize that the paycheck is not going to be cut, hopefully they will continue to purchase food clothing, things like that," Shaheen said.
Amerson says it may be harder for some people to recover from the reduced paycheck, and start spending their money around town.
"I don't have children, I'm not married, I don't have a mortgage, so it didn't really affect me as much as I'm sure it affected other people," she said.
For John Mitchell, he's just hopeful his restaurant can weather the storm, and his generous discounts will continue to draw business.
"We're glad that they did cut it back, and I'm hoping it will be go back to normal," Mitchell said.