Parking downtown Kelowna. (City of Kelowna)

‘Lots of unknowns’: B.C. restaurant workers stressed as COVID-19 causes layoffs

Bars and restaurants throughout the Okanagan are closing as recommended by B.C. government

B.C. restaurant workers have been hit hard with layoffs as business closures spread into the food and beverage industry.

On March 17, many restaurants informed hourly staff that they would be closing for at least two weeks while the province and municipalities battle the spread of COVID-19.

“I think I saw it coming,” said one server working with a main restaurant franchise in Kelowna.

“They’re taking care of us, better than some other places I’m told, which put my mind at ease. I still don’t know what I’m going to do, am I going to have a job in two weeks? There are EI options but I could stand to lose nearly 75 per cent of my income.”

Most servers and bartenders rely on customer tips for their main source of income because waiting staff earn a minimum wage of $12.70, a dollar less than B.C.’s overall minimum wage of $13.85 an hour.

While multiple restaurants have given their service staff an extra week of pay (based on an average of their last eight weeks worked), the uncertainty of when they may return to work is the hardest part.

“There are lots of unknowns and that’s the stressful part.”

READ MORE: B.C. declares state of emergency, recalling legislature for COVID-19

READ MORE: Hundreds of Big White employees lose jobs due to COVID-19

With gyms, restaurants, schools, recreational facilities and no job to report to, a lot of restaurant workers and other affected people are feeling anxious about their future.

“I’m trying to keep a level head,” said Chris Loubardeas, a Vancouver restaurant worker who’s all but self-isolated.

“Getting outside, reading and catching up on sleep and trying not to worry myself about this. There’s two-week radio silence from work, but I expect more information after that.

“I’m lucky to have savings and support but if it’s longer than two weeks, it’s going to cause a lot more problems for a lot of restaurant workers.”

While many restaurants have shut their doors, others are still offering take out or delivery, which has been allowed by the province.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Over 440 complaints issued in 3 months about Central Kootenay governments: B.C. Ombudsperson

Most common complaints were about decisions and bylaw enforcement in local governments

Nakusp store launches delivery service by donation for those in need during COVID-19 crisis

Hilltop Convenience Store has been getting up to three calls a day for the service

Castlegar hospice director says COVID-19 measures make serving the dying heartbreaking

Social distancing brings big challenges to offering support

Slocan Valley craft distiller wading through obstacles to help fight COVID-19

From raw materials to licences to bottles, getting production ramped up has been a challenge

Outrage over illegal dumping at Nakusp Landfill

Online photo shows garbage bags, cardboard boxes and bottles thrown around landfill container

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Most Read