NewsHillsborough County


Owner of Wood Fired Pizza pays employees who are not working during coronavirus pandemic

State ordered restaurants to close dining rooms.
Posted at 10:14 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 23:46:03-04

TAMPA, Fla. - A Tampa business owner said he will continue to pay his employees after the state ordered all restaurants to close their dining rooms.

On Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis ordered all restaurants to shut down its dining areas to help stop the spread of coronavirus.


Customers may get delivery or take out.

"I feel like we've been singled out a little bit, but my people, my team that has been with me a while, they didn't deserve to be singled out. They deserve to have a job, that's the message," said Peter Taylor, owner of Wood Fired Pizza.

Peter Taylor owns Wood Fired Pizza on West Bearss Avenue in Tampa.

He has about 12 employees. He said he will pay them even if they are not working.

"It's the right thing to do. I mean, listen, anybody can be generous when everything is going great, but the time to be generous is when the chips are down," said Peter Taylor.

"Right now, everybody is hurting so my people can't afford to go without a paycheck. Really, nobody can," he added.

On Monday evening, Taylor had two employees working at the restaurant. His dining area is closed.

Ashley Smith has worked at the restaurant for seven years. She is use to socializing with customers. Now, she takes orders by phone.

"At least I still have a job. Unfortunately, for a lot of the restaurant workers, hospitality workers, that's not an option," said Smith.

Taylor said he took out a line of credit to pay his employees.

"It's nice to be able to still come in and have my hours still, but it's just completely different. It's weird, but I am happy to be here," said Smith.

Wood Fired Pizza is open for carry out or delivery. For more information visit: