Many of New York City's restaurants are operating with skeleton staffing levels as they try and survive in the face of the pandemic. The cautious reopening has left many unemployed restaurant workers to wonder when or if they will go back to work. (Oct. 1)
CHRISTINE GUERRERO: Pre-COVID, if you came here at about 5 o'clock on a Wednesday, it was packed. There would be a few rows deep at the bar, and nonstop-- nonstop making three, four cocktails at the same time. And I think that's what makes me sad is because I don't know when the next time I'll ever feel that way.
I'm in an accelerated nursing program. So this hit at a really inopportune time. I had to take out student loans to front the cost of that, which I hadn't anticipated because I had been paying my tuition as I went with my pay from The Ragtrader. It's stressful. You-- you go this long-- I've been furloughed for seven months now. I have a job when-- when capacity is, you know, a little higher. At 25%, you-- you don't need a full staff, so.
And I think that's what's most frustrating for people in the hospitality industry is, we-- we don't have any plan and action. We have nothing set in stone. The beginning phases, they were very organized with what was opening when. And then, it got to restaurants and it kind of like, we'll deal with you later. You kind of have to figure out what's important and what you need because you don't know when the unemployment's going to run out, when the fed money is going to be, you know, taken away. So I'm just kind of planning for the worst and just hoping for the best.