Covid-19 Threatening Des Moines Restaurant Owners’ Lives and Livelihood

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Covid-19 sent a thunderous blow to the Tejeda family. “All those aches turned the skin, like I was sunburned I couldn’t tolerate my clothes it was horrible,” said German Tejada who co-owns Tamale’s Industry, a Mexican restaurant inside Merle Hay Mall, with his wife Maria Angelica Tejeda.

In early November German could barely put on his own clothes when he knew something was wrong. “Just to get my pants up, every movement was really hard to do because it was taking my breath away. I thought I was going to faint,” said German.

German checked into Iowa Lutheran Hospital where he tested positive for Covid-19 along with his wife Maria Angelica and five of their six children forcing Tamales Industry to close. “We were closed on November 6th all the way to December 2nd,” German said.

While the others didn’t require hospital care German spent five days in the hospital with dangerously low oxygen levels. German said, “With lower than 80% so I couldn’t even talk.”

The nearly month-long closure has been heartbreaking. Speaking of the restaurant German said, “I have six children but this is my seventh child.”

Since March, German estimates sales are down fifty percent. The Tejedas have been unable to pay a full rent payment to the mall since March. “That’s one thing that really hurting a lot,” German said.

Numerous Covid-19 relief programs sent them rejection letters. “They keep asking about how many employees do you have and we don’t have employees so we couldn’t pass that,” said German.

Hoping to ease the burden, the family created a GoFundMe account that has since generated nearly $10,000 to keep the Tejeda family’s life’s work alive. German said, “I can extend my chances to survive here at the mall.”

The Tejedas aren’t sure when normalcy will return. “I still have problems getting my breath back to normal,” said German. Neither he nor his wife have their full sense of smell and taste back after overcoming the coronavirus. They hope others see their adversity as a way for Iowans to draw on one another for strength. “For the people who are dying or going through more difficult things than I went through we need to be thinking as a community,” said German.

Tamale’s Industry is open Monday-Saturday 11 am-7 pm and on Sunday from 12 pm-5 pm.
Donate by visiting their GoFundMe page Fundraiser by Angel Tejeda : Help Covid Affected Family (gofundme.com)

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