Working in Restaurants During COVID-19
2020 has been filled with bad times and setbacks because of the pandemic and the racial injustice of Black people in America. Restaurants were specifically setback and had to adjust accordingly to new pandemic guidelines. Paetyn Wyble and Kameron LeBlanc, two "awesome" UL History Seniors and restaurant workers, have worked tirelessly to compile an exhibit of how restaurant workers and employers have handled these setbacks.
"I was working, and I look to my left and there are just a ton of people walking down Ambassador with signs protesting against police violence.
It was powerful, I wanted to leave my shift and participate"
Kameron LeBlanc after witnessing a protest outside his workplace.
"Working during the pandemic has slowed down the industry.
Back in June we started working inside the building again alongside the huge tent outside. It was super sketchy at first because of the high amount of clientele we have, so when we first got the building back up, people poured in and we were at max capacity. We had less tables, but the bar was super packed, and it created a social distancing issue. Personally I was super uncomfortable going back because the older generation of Lafayette refused to give a shit about a serious issue. Still to this day they don’t care and it’s a little disheartening. Now, we are working like nothing happened, maybe a few tables less in some spots of the restaurant but it just feels like we are running like nothing happened. The mask literally just feels like a part of my uniform now.
Unfortunately, nothing is really enforced and that’s just about anywhere you go, whether it’s a restaurant or grocery store. Masks help but it’s not the saving grace. Temps aren’t being checked at doors, people still crowd up in the lobby when we are on a wait time and I don’t know how I haven’t caught it yet since being back to work. Everyone has been equally informed about the pandemic, but it’s those who choose their ego and self-righteousness over the safety of themselves and others around them that makes us where we are today. Now we are on the verge of another lockdown. The guidelines are simple and easy to follow. Now all these people suddenly give a shit about their freedom in this seemingly false sense of patriotism and because of that these same people feel like 'a mask is going against my right as an American'.
Sure Karen...what would like with your steak?"
Unnamed restaurant server explaining his frustrations with customers not following COVID procedures
"I’ve worked at a restaurant throughout the entirety of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The establishment was quick to require all staff members to wear masks, even before the mandate was put into place for the general public. As the standard medical masks became harder to come by, many people began using cotton masks or even making their own, which resulted in unique patterns that allowed everyone to express themselves. I started to notice more and more people come into the restaurants, both customers and staff, with masks that made political statements.
As you could guess, it caused for some tension between individuals with different beliefs. Because of this, our management banned us from wearing masks with any type of words at all on them. Still many of the kitchen workers still wear masks with Black Lives Matter slogans on them, while the other servers, hostesses and busboys who interact with customers are not allowed to. It goes to show that there is still a lot of unrest and hostility within our community concerning the BLM movement."