LIVERMORE (KPIX 5) — A high-end steakhouse in the East Bay was forced to lay off dozens of workers due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the kitchen remains hard at work catering to police and fire dispatchers working in isolation.

Dispatchers all across the Bay Area are often working in highly restricted restricted work spaces due to the shelter-in-place order. Rusty’s Bar and Grill in Livermore and the support group called “United by Blue” are helping these first responders get meals.

“They don’t have the flexibility to just leave and go and get food. There’s not that many businesses that are open, there’s not that many restaurants that are open and they have to eat” explained Erin Cart, president of United by Blue.

“Today we have spaghetti and meat balls. These are going out to San Francisco PD,” said Rusty Skinner, owner of Rusty’s.

Though his restaurant is closed, his kitchen remains open. Eighty staff members were laid off earlier this week, but his two executive chefs are still there. He said Tuesday that they would send out 350 boxed meals that day. Pointing to a table of boxes, Skinners pointed out, “This is going out to San Jose PD, we’ve got Chicken Adobo going out to Livermore PD.”

United by Blue is a nonprofit that raises money with fundraisers, like a crab feed they held last month. Rusty’s is just breaking even by preparing the meals at his wholesale cost. When the meals arrive, the Livermore police officers are humble and grateful for the food.

One of the dispatch and some officers came outside to express this gratitude on Tuesday. “We truly appreciate this! This is awesome! I wish I could have you into the center and let the other dispatchers thank you in person. Thank you! You guys stay safe,” officers said.

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