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MARION COUNTY — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave an everlasting impact on the health of not only thousands of Hoosiers, but businesses as well.

Several restaurants have permanently closed due to the social distancing restrictions in place or because the owners felt it was the best thing to do.

The owners of Sero’s Family Restaurant believe they were almost next.

For 22 years, Sero’s Family Restaurant in Cumberland has been a staple in the community for customer Jennifer Baker.

To Baker, the owners are like family.

When she heard they were strapped for cash and on the verge of closing forever, she couldn’t allow it to happen.

“I received a phone call from my mother and had realized they had ordered a bunch of food and wasn’t opening,” Baker explained.

Restaurant owner Luke Lulgjuraj was under the impression Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett was going to allow restaurants to reopen their dining rooms this weekend.

In anticipation of an influx in customers, he ordered a ton of food. He was disappointed to find out Marion County restaurants still can only offer carryout.

“It was devastating, almost like when we first heard March 15th that they are shutting us down,” Luke remembered.

The owners said one of the most frustrating parts about it was the neighboring county just a few minutes up the road allows their restaurants to open their dining rooms.

“Not everyone is going to stay home and follow the order. They can just as easily drive to the next county, and all the business that are in Marion County are going to suffer more than they did when everybody else was on lock down,” said owner Violeta Lulgjuraj.

The Lulgjurajs thought spending extra money to buy more food was going to end Sero’s Family Restaurant.

Thankfully, Baker posted a social media post, and Hoosiers from all over have stopped by to place carryout orders.

“We appreciate everything that everybody has done to support us. That makes it all worthwhile, and it gives us a purpose to know why we are here,” Violeta said.

The owners know times are hard, but they’re grateful to live in a community that wouldn’t want to see them close forever.

Under stage two of Mayor Hogsett’s plan to reopen the city, restaurants can open in-house on June 1.

Restaurants will be able to seat customers outside starting May 22 in Marion County.