By Editorial Board
Workers from all walks of life have been affected since the inception of COVID-19. Business closures and capacity limits have led to business owners laying off workers to keep afloat, or shutting down altogether.
The restaurant, bar industry has taken the largest hit since March. Weeks-long closures and reduced capacities have taken a huge toll on owners, locally and nationally.
The closure of “non-essential businesses” executed by Gov. Tom Wolf in late March put the biggest dent in Pennsylvania restaurants.
Butler County joined Fayette, Greene, and Washington counties to sue Wolf at the end of May, deeming the closures unconstitutional. On Sept. 14, U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV agreed with the ruling. Wolf filed an appeal so for the time being the lawsuit is at an impasse.
When it comes to the restaurant business, servers have been especially affected throughout all of this.
Although they have hourly wages, they are usually meager so they primarily rely on tips for pay.
In fact, servers are the only workers who get paid primarily through customer service and not business wages.
As you can imagine, this has made it difficult for these workers who have been laid off. In order to collect unemployment, they can only input the amount they received through hourly wages. Tips can not be included in that.
So they are receiving a huge cut in income, even with unemployment.
That’s definitely not enough to survive on.
Perhaps it would be beneficial to abolish that system altogether so that they don’t have to go through something like that again.
That is beside the point.
The damage caused in 2020 has already been done. But it brings to light just how much of an effect COVID-19 has had on our businesses. No doubt we’ll see many more closures by the end of this year, into next year.
With luck, we’ll learn from this experience and add extra security blankets in the event of a future calamity.