Coronavirus: Massive layoffs loom over restaurant industry with no end to lockdowns in sight
As the world implements social isolation and quarantine measures, the food and restaurant industry has been affected a lot. Most of the restaurants are closed for in-house services and only catering to takeaways and deliveries. How will this affect the employees and employers workings in the restaurant business?
With coronavirus cases growing at alarming rates, the restaurant industry can only do so much to keep their business running during such an epidemic.
The industry is facing an existential crisis, with people being in isolation, and is not getting many customers. All reservations are being canceled, stored perishable items are rendered unusable. Those who work in this industry are now vulnerable to economic realities as the shutdowns might be prolonged, leading to layoffs.
With no work, the servers and staff might not get paid or even get tips that they rely on and there are chances of being laid off. April Glick, 31, who works at Manhattan cocktail bar Ampersand shared her thoughts with Buzz Feed on the situation. She said she had been wanting bars and restaurants to close down because of the public health need for social distancing in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But she’s also deeply worried about the financial implications the closures will have on her and other workers. "Of course, I want to do this for the greater good, but I also like to pay my rent," said Glick.
There is a devastating strain on the restaurant industry, leaving employees to wonder about how they will manage expenses for daily life. Many are also worried about their healthcare cost and insurance coverage. Meanwhile, a burden placed on owners stems from whether it is safe to continue operating, even if just for deliveries and takeaways.
“In small restaurants, it’s very hard to provide health care,” Diego Moya, the chef at the Tribeca’s wine-centric restaurant Racines, told Grub Street. “So what happens if one of my guys gets sick and decides they don’t want to go to the doctor because they don’t have insurance? It just gets really tricky.” Brandon Jew, the owner of the restaurant Mister Jiu’s in San Francisco, spoke about their situation to Bon Apetit, “ I’m still paying for everyone who has healthcare through us, and I'm still paying our salaried employees. I had to take out a loan this morning; restaurants just don’t have reserves to live off of.” The situation is quite unclear for this industry and it is hard to tell when the lockdown might be lifted, leaving the industry in great distress.