Graeme McDowell feeling business impact of pandemic with Nona Blue Taverns closed

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Like every PGA Tour player, Graeme McDowell has spent the last two weeks considering his competitive future. But the Northern Irishman is also dealing with other professional concerns.

McDowell was among a group of founding partners of Nona Blue Modern Tavern in 2013, and the concept expanded to a second location just outside the gates of TPC Sawgrass in 2016. Like many food-service businesses, both Nona Blue locations have been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We closed our doors because our model isn’t based on take-away food. We are a come-and-be-present restaurant. We had to take the tough decision to close the doors in both restaurants,” McDowell said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

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McDowell and his partners are working to assure his staff of 70 employees continue to be compensated through the end of this month. After that, he and his operators are looking into various small-business options that are being made available that would allow them to withstand continued cash-flow issues.

“It gives me a real perspective from the working American’s point of view just how big this is financially. This is all over the world, right?” McDowell said. “We have two pretty successful restaurant businesses going, and now we have to close our doors, and it is going to be tough to keep them going for the next three months. That’s scary. It’s scary to see how quickly a business, all around the world, can be impacted by this.”