Cortez service industry bands together to keep struggling workers afloat

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Businesses in the Cortez area of Bradenton Beach are struggling, as many of their neighbors are, but some have now banded together to help one another survive until red tide leaves and customers return.

Around Cortez, it's eerily quiet. Many business owners have seen a 60 percent drop in profits. 

"No one is coming out to the beaches. It's made a big issue about what people feel and what is going on at the beaches," the owner of Bunny and Pirates, Elizabeth Shore said. "We are all your neighbors and we need your support because the trickle effect is enormous." 

Shore isn't alone. At the Sword Fish Grill and Tiki Bar, General Manager Bob Slicker helped form Service Industry Relief Festivities, or SIRF. 

It's a non-profit that promotes going to local places and raising funds for employees who are losing hours due to a lack of business. 

"There are a lot of local people who are losing their jobs and their houses because they can't pay their rent and pay their mortgage," said Slicker. 

SIRF hosts events at local businesses that are feeling the pinch. By banding together, local businesses hope it'll spread the word that they are still open and they're more than ready for customers.

"All we want to do is let the locals and everybody know we are still here, all of our places are enclosed and have air conditioning but the water is beautiful. There is not one fish out here right now, and we will let you know when it's bad," said Slicker. 

As they turn to each other for support, they also appeal to local customers who they need now more than ever. 

"We are all supporting each other and it's the only thing that is really helping us to get through the last couple of months," said Shore. 

For more information on SIRF visit