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The dining room of Ocean Prime in Dallas Ron Ruggless
Ocean Prime's recently renovated dining room in Dallas.

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants temporarily closes all restaurants, furloughs 4,500

Ocean Prime parent creates fund with donated gift card sales to support workers

Columbus, Ohio-based Cameron Mitchell Restaurants said it will temporarily cease operations at all of the company’s restaurants at the close of business Thursday,  furloughing about 4,500 employees.

The multiconcept operator’s portfolio includes 36 restaurants under 16 concepts, including the fine-dining Ocean Prime in 12 states, as well as one-offs such as Del Mar SoCal Kitchen, Lincoln Social Rooftop Lounge, The Guild House and the original Cameron’s American Bistro.

The company said it hopes workers will return when the crisis is over.

“This is, without a doubt, one of the most incredibly difficult times Cameron Mitchell Restaurants has ever faced,” the company said in a statemenet. “Our hearts are with each one of our associates impacted by COVID-19, and with everyone across the U.S. and in our hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

“Our incredible associates are our CMR family, and we are heartbroken. With them, we’ve celebrated new lives and mourned losses, we’ve laughed and cried, and we’ve worked together to serve our guests and support each other. We are committed to helping them thorugh this unprecedented time.”

A relief fund has been created, to which all online gift card sales, from March 19-31, will be donated, the company said.

The fund also includes personal contributions from the company’s leadership team and will be “divided evenly” among the 4,500 associates. Each employee will receive a check in April.

“We urge CMR Raving Fans to consider purchasing gift cards to help support this effort,” the statement said. “Together, we can help our devastated restaurant community.”

The news comes a day after famed multiconcept operator Danny Meyer announced the layoff of 80% of New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group’s staff — about 2,000 people — in the wake of coronavirus-related closures.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.

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