Has there ever been a moment in the history of serving when every single waiter and waitress across the world was feeling exactly the same way? Maybe on Cinco de Mayo all the servers in Mexican restaurants do or servers in a sports bar all share an emotion on Super Bowl Sunday, but right now, thanks to the coronavirus, every single server in the world is scared.
Restaurants across the country have shut down or had their hours drastically reduced. Here in New York City, restaurants can stay open for takeout and delivery, but that could change at any second. My restaurant will be open, but only needs one person to take the orders and bag things up, so I acquiesced and offered that position to the bartender. I did that for two reasons: Jonathan works there full time and it’s his only source of income and he might need those hours more than I do. Also, I’m lazy.
Severs, bussers, bartenders, hosts, managers and back of house are all looking at unemployment and it’s a scary and unprecedented time. As someone who has spent the last decade blogging and creating server-related content, I am now struggling to figure out what this blog and my Facebook page should be doing. While I want to continue being the voice of servers and shining a humorous light on our job, I also want to be mindful of our situation. Sharing a “Karen” meme or making a video about an old lady who wants a hot tea just don’t seem right. over the last few days, I have been bombarded with requests to share petitions for a government restaurant bailout and GoFundMe pages and foundations, but I haven’t shared anything yet. This isn’t because I don’t care. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I care so much that I desperately do not want to share bad information and it’s going to take time to figure out what course to take. And by the time something is figured out, the whole world has changed again.
In the mean time, I want to say this: our country will get through this. China has seen a leveling off of new cases, but they are several weeks ahead of us and they also took drastic measures that we in the United States are only just beginning to take, but we will eventually get through it. Until then, we are going to have to depend on one another to help. Just yesterday, my friend Kendall who works at bakery gave us loaves of bread that were not being sold. I met a friend on the street to give her a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle we had already put together once. Reach out to your friends and see what you can do for them to help. Ask your elderly neighbors if they need anything. Send a text to your friends who live alone and don’t have the luxury of being able to talk about what’s going on in the world. If you’re stuck at home, do some spring cleaning, start a blog or take those naps we never have time for. As for income, I just don’t know. None of us do. I worry about people having to choose between paying rent or their student loan and I hope that our government recognizes this dire situation and relaxes deadlines or maybe even forgives some debt.
Just know that I will still be here doing my best to entertain and inform while thinking of all of you who are struggling through this. The only comfort we can take is that we are not alone. Maybe after all of this is said and done, we will realize that our world is a lot smaller than we thought and we’ll be able to appreciate life in a different way. Once the world has the coronavirus under control, our restaurants and bars will roar back to life with a ferocity we have not known. Glasses will be clinking, tables will be turning and everyone will once again relish the opportunity to be social. Until then, be strong, love your friends and wash your hands.