Florida restaurant temporarily closes after backlash caused by viral video


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The Getaway is a fitting name for one St. Petersburg restaurant, as the owners are now trying to get away from death threats they’re receiving online in response to a video that went viral.

The Getaway Bar and Restaurant is located along Gandy Boulevard in St. Petersburg, just west of the bridge.

“I love this place. It’s a beautiful property,” said Justin Middleton, who works at the restaurant.

On March 30, a nine-minute video was posted by his boss that was meant for employees only.

Karin Tashkin and her husband Scott are co-owners of The Getaway. The video Karin posted said, in part, “When the virus began and the shutdowns began of restaurants, we didn’t have to pay you. Not even the last paycheck. But we did.”

Some thought she wasn’t going to pay her employees due to the coronavirus – but she claims that’s not true.

Karin says the video was taken out of context.

“My message, it was meant not in the way it’s been portrayed,” she said.

Karin says she meant they could have laid people off weeks ago due to business being slow. When asked if she meant they would be withholding pay, she replied, “God, no!”

The video has received a lot of reaction online.

“From death threats and threatening to burn the place down,” Karin’s husband Scott said.

Middleton said, as an employee, the video didn’t bother him.

“I watched it and I was like, wow, good message. [She’s] just keeping people in the loop.”

The owners say in the past they have gone above and beyond for staff treating them like family.

“Helping with down payments on apartments, on cars, loans, advances, food,” said Scott.

Due to COVID-19, the owners have been doing to-go orders the past two weeks. But now they’ve temporarily shut down completely due to the threats.

Karin said they didn’t want to put their employees in harm’s way. She says they look forward to reopening soon.

“I love these people, these are…it’s my team,” said Karin.

You can watch the full video that went viral after being posted on March 30th here:

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