I Guess Waitstaff is Disposable When it Comes to COVID-19

On the first day of restaurants outdoor patios being reopened in Colleyville, Texas “so long as physical distancing is maintained between tables,” a waiter wearing a face mask takes orders from diners eating on the outdoor patio at Rio Mambo Tex Mex.

Today is the day that restaurants in the state of Georgia have official permission from Governor Kemp to reopen their doors for business and potentially spread COVID-19 all over the damn place like it’s mayonnaise on a piece of Wonder bread. Last week he opened up nail salons, gyms, tattoo shops, and bowling alleys which makes total sense because whenever I think of a place that’s clean, sanitary and full of socially responsible people, my mind immediately goes to bowling alleys and gyms.

Restaurant owners will now decide if they think it’s safe enough to open today and if it will even be worth it. After all, is the dining public is ready to dive back into the coronavirus pool? Sure, I would love to have some fish tacos and margaritas at my favorite Mexican restaurant, but at what cost? And what about the servers? They don’t get to decide if it’s safe enough. That choice is taken away from them when some greedy asshole boss decides to reopen the restaurant. Servers that were collecting unemployment along with the other 26 million people in our country suddenly having to give it up and put their own health at risk so that someone can have some damn buffalo wings. It’s completely unfair that employees who have been laid off from their restaurant jobs will now have to either go to work or turn it down, possibly leaving them ineligible to collect unemployment. It’s like being stuck between a rock and hard place except the rock is making less money than you did when you were working and the hard place is making no money at all. I feel entirely grateful that my restaurant has made the decision for me that I do not work. While it is staying open for takeout only with limited hours, the owner is doing all the cooking and his son is taking the orders over the phone and putting them all together. If I lived in Georgia and my boss asked me to go to work today, I’d be scared to go and even more scared of losing my unemployment benefits.

I saw a photo of a restaurant in Texas that recently reopened their patio and it upset me to the core. It shows a one solitary waiter who is wearing a mask surrounded by happy-go-lucky customers all crowded around him blissfully shoving food into their uncovered faces. We all know the masks don’t protect ourselves, they protect others in case we’re infected. So this sever has to wear a mask to keep all of his customers safe but what’s protecting him? Bill and Sally McFuckface can show up to the restaurant, possibly infected but asymptomatic and spew their germs all over the server just so they can satisfy their urge for a chicken mole burrito? And then, when the server gets sick, he’s the one who pays the price. Hmmm, it’s almost like restaurant staff is disposable. Imagine that.

I’m sorry to my server friends in Georgia who have to go to work today. I know some of you are looking forward to it and are completely okay with it while some of you are worried. Most experts agree that it’s too soon to reopen the economy and just because Governor Kemp thinks it’s a good idea doesn’t mean it is one. I mean, even Donald Trump strongly disagrees with him about reopening, but this is the same Donald Trump who last week was encouraging states to reopen as soon as possible, so what the fuck? I hope your restaurant owners and managers all determine that a little more time is needed before you have to strap on your aprons again. Hopefully, they have more sense than your governor does. And if you do have to go to work today, please be as safe as you can.


32 thoughts on “I Guess Waitstaff is Disposable When it Comes to COVID-19

  1. demoncat_4

    i agree with you for in the rush to try and get back to normal in the states the governors are thinking like trump time to open up to get some money flowing not realizing doing so now still risks like those heros at hospitals fighting this thing . those who work in the food industry for you can take all the safety precutions and given how people are axious to be back to normal they are not going to really think of the waiter or cook at risk by doing their job . now for some things are worth more then money like life for

  2. Caley

    Wait staff are humans. No one needs an eat out dining experience that badly that they have to risk not only their own lives, but the lives of the wait staff and other diners. This is a PANDEMIC, people. Adjust; it’s not that hard. STAY HOME. COOK. BBQ in the back yard. Order delivery or curbside.

    1. Wil Skatzes

      Did you miss the part that said if you don’t go back to work you run the risk of losing your unemployment benefits?!

    2. Gemma Dixon

      Actually yes they can. Trump wants to make sure he makes more money by forcing people back into work and if they do not they forfeit unemployment benefits. It’s disgusting.

  3. Valerie

    You just said it right there… “I’d be scared to go and even more scared to lose my unemployment benefits”. That’s the deciding factor. If you werent making that extra $600/week your article would most likely host a different opinion. I hope you at least are thankful to the Trump administration for pouring out so much money that everyone knows they are better off staying home. Also, yes I am in the industry.

    1. Gemma Dixon

      Bullshit. Trump is doing nothing for anyone but himself. His “wonderful” relief bills are benefitting the rich and his business interests not the ordinary workers. Who will be forced to risk their health to work and get nothing if they try to put their health first. Now fuck off and daydream about when you’ll be able to attend Trump again.
      Or maybe you’re one of the armed morons breaking rules to protest for your “freedom?”

  4. Sam

    I could not agree with you more here. As someone who is immunocompromised and has many elderly people I love, I really hate some people’s take. Like, I’m glad you can go get your chips and salsa but I might die and people I love might die. The selfishness of some people is a real mind fuck. Stay safe out there.

  5. Denise

    I am a full time server of a restaurant closed due to covid & a part time nurse working on a covid unit. I am so proud the restaurant I work for has decided to only reopen when it’s safe to do so & even then, with limited staff, hours & patrons. I’ve seen more deaths due to covid in the last 5 weeks then I’ve ever seen from Flu, COPD, CHF, Diabetes along with other serious ailments COMBINED in any given year. NOT FAKE NEWS!

  6. Rachel

    Thanks for weighing in on this. As a bartender and server in lovely Savannah, Georgia, it’s nice to know that there are folks out there near and far who are as concerned as we are about Kemp’s reckless decision to open such unnecessary avenues for this virus to spread. As for me, I’m lucky enough to be able to make the choice of when I go back, regardless of what my employers decide. Not sure when that may be, but I’m not going back to serving Shrimp and Grits until at least when our Governor and the State offices feel it’s safe for THEM to go back…which as of right now won’t be until at least mid-June according to the news. 🤷🏼‍♂️

  7. Sherrill

    We are totally disposable in the south. Does anyone even make $5/hr yet as server? They’ve got to get servers back to work before they *have to pay out all the unemployment. The system is rigged!

    1. JudyConnor

      And what happened to being six feet apart. This picture shows all these people crammed in together infecting not only the poor waiter but each other. Why are they not limiting who can come in and seating them apart from one another. I’m staying home thank you.

  8. Shannon

    I’m in GA and my manager decided not to open today. She was going to but decided that it wouldn’t really be worth it so they’re back to doing delivery/takeout only, with some outdoor seating by reservation. That won’t be an issue since we don’t have a lot of outdoor seating and share our parking lot with a gas station (not exactly the best view).

    I’ve been out for a month because of anxiety, but we’re supposed to be getting unemployment as soon as the state gets the right information (they were missing several months of wages). I’m not sure I’d want to go back yet either.

  9. Ottawangel

    I live in Canada and am so sorry for what is being experienced in the US., italy and elsewhere. Am a biology major, and can anticipate what is coming. All I can think of is Spanish Flu and the saying that those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Oh, it is happening here too, and I am one of the compromised ones. Glad to have been retired. BW you are right on. All the premature openings are achieving is spreading Covid.

  10. Linda

    I’m in GA and I went back to work last week BUT, everything is done as a to-go. AND will remain that way until the owner feels like it is safe to open their dining room. I’m okay with that! The wife made masks for everyone to wear and you have to wear it! You can eat on the patio but, they took half the tables away and your food is left in a to go container on a sanitized table and you pick it up like a to go window, no table service. I did serve people but, most were very understanding and kept a safe distance from other patrons. There are no public restrooms and no one is allowed inside the restaurant except staff. I am glad to get back to work even if it is weird. AND a LOT of extra work!

  11. Bonnie from Boston

    I am a bartender in Massachusetts and cannot wait till I can go back to work. “ pandemic “ as of today54,000 deaths ,hospitals 1/2 empty. It’s a big lie. CDC website says there were 79,000 flu deaths in 2018. Fake News people….

    1. Tania

      You are overlooking two things:

      First being, that the 79K death in 2018 due to the flu is accounting for the entire year. 54K for Covid-19 represents only a couple months. Second being, this is 54K deaths while quarantining and social distancing. Are you under the impression that had cities not gone on lock down the number would not surpass 79K and remain closer to 54K?

    2. BrianSMcL

      You can still of flu, it hasn’t gone anywhere. Neither have any of the other ailments you could suffer and maybe die from. This is extra deaths on top of everything else.

      What’s fake is people pretending like they think covid-19 isn’t maybe a thing or that it’s exaggerated.

      If it wasn’t a major deal China wouldn’t have panicked to begin with.

  12. DeeDub

    I know I’m not looking forward to going back, and it’s not about the money. I’m compromised as is my husband and elderly father. I don’t want to go back to handle other people’s spit infested silverware and drink glasses and have to clean up their chewed up toothpicks and snot filled Kleenex.
    I’m in MN and we have no idea when we’ll be able to open again. Whenever that may be, I’ll still be apprehensive.

    For those of you open, please be safe.


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