Cancellations, Sick Leave, and Takeout: How Food Businesses Nationwide Are Handling Coronavirus
Since the first case of coronavirus in the U.S. was confirmed last month, restaurants and food businesses around the country have been affected in various ways. As the virus continues to spread, we’ve asked food industry workers from coast to coast to send us notes about what they’re seeing in their communities and how their businesses are being affected. A full list of contributors is at the end of this post. More voices will be joining as we update this page regularly.
I’m a hostess at a high-end Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. I typically work three 5-to-7- hour-long shifts a week and make sixteen dollars an hour. It’s one dollar more than NYC’s minimum wage, but I don’t have health insurance or paid sick leave, which is pretty typical in the restaurant world. It’s an industry without a safety net—which is scary in normal times but downright terrifying in moments like these.
I didn’t have a stable living situation for about a year. I was sleeping on couches, crashing on random beds in lofts, any place I could sleep for free. The idea of losing my apartment again is terrifying. If you don’t live paycheck to paycheck, there’s no way to understand what it’s like to not know if you’ll have work tomorrow.
We’ve been extremely busy with people panic-shopping. Like many co-ops, a huge chunk of our customer base is either over 65 or immune-compromised. They shop at our food co-op specifically because of the nature of the food we offer, whether it’s organic or whole foods or made for special diets. We have a wide array of items in the wellness department that they may not find anywhere else. Many of our customers need to worry about what’s in their food and where it comes from, and it puts their minds at ease when they shop here because they know, when they find something on our shelves, we’ve already vetted the product to make sure it’s the best quality they can get and the cleanest version. We do that thinking for them. There aren’t many options like us in our area. It’s the Berkshires, not a big city.
As a loyal KABUKI member, we feel it is important to reach out to you personally to share the changes we are making in response to the Corona virus (COVID-19).
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Stay home when you are sick
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue
Please see the CDC.gov website for more information.