The unprecedented global pandemic of the COVID-19 has crippled many businesses forcing them to close their doors. This is in response to several world leaders’ call for territorial lockdowns to halt the transmission of the virus. Unfortunately, the ones that took most of the brunt are the small to medium businesses, mainly within the restaurant, bartending and travel industry. These enterprises rely on the working-class public. Unfortunately, self-isolation has dried up their flow of income and it is still indefinite if they could bounce back from this.
There are businesses that were forced to be creative and adapted to the demand of the public while keeping in line with government protocols during this time. Some restaurants have focused their manpower and resources to their drive-thru and/or contactless delivery services. Unfortunately, that is not the case for bartenders. A huge majority of bars have difficulty in transitioning into different avenues for income and are forced to lay off dozens of workers because of this. On top of this, Saint Patrick’s Day, which should have been their biggest season, proved to be a bust since most celebrations have been canceled due to mandated lockdowns.
The dire circumstances that bar owners and workers face nowadays have prompted the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) to launch a financial aid program, the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program. Owners and workers within the industry can apply for a grant to assist them during these trying times. There are also those that set up a GoFundMe for the industry, one being SipScience, an analytics company focused on the industry of hospitality. Another Round Another Rally has also pledged $500 relief grants for hospitality workers that were laid off or are experiencing reduced hours due to the pandemic. Another ally of the hospitality industry is One Fair Wage which offers immediate assistance for restaurant employees that are experiencing difficulty.
Throughout the years, bartenders, servers and restaurant staff have tirelessly worked to serve us. Now is the time to rally behind them. Here are several ways on how to help struggling bartenders and workers affected by the coronavirus:
- Donate money or time to organizations focused on helping the industry. Contact your local government to see how you can help local businesses in your area.
- Help local bar staff to find alternative jobs during the crisis. Sometimes people don’t need a handout but a hand up.
- Buy local brews from pub owners. Some bars are still operational but with reduced hours or with delivery/take away only. Buy and support local products whenever possible.
- Order take-aways and/or gift cards from bars. Since bar owners have mostly revised their operations to contactless, it is better to buy through take outs or buy gift cards through their websites.
- Leave reasonable tips for bartenders and servers whether it be in person or via delivery. Let us all rethink our tipping habits and how we interact with staff. We are all struggling. A little compassion goes a long way.
Small things amount to big things when done together. Even with small gestures as mentioned above, the industry can find relief for those who need it. Help the industry bounce back from this crisis.
Resources for Bars and Bartenders
Another Round Another Rally – a nonprofit financial resource for the hospitality industry, providing scholarships, developing future leaders and supplying emergency assistance. Currently, offering $500 relief grants to hospitality workers to lose their jobs.
One Fair Wage (Emergency Fund) – provides cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers and more who need the money they aren’t getting to survive.
CORE grants support to families, with children, of food and beverage service employees navigating through medical diagnosis, illness, surgery, injury or a family death in the same household that would keep you away from work.
See the full list of resources HERE.