Parking downtown Kelowna. (City of Kelowna)

‘Lots of unknowns’: Okanagan restaurant workers stressed as COVID-19 causes layoffs

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

Okanagan 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’s 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 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, its going to cause a lot more problems for a lot of restaurant workers.”

While many resturants 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

Vernon Vipers defenceman lands with T-Birds

Jackson Caller commits to Point Grey campus for 2020-21

$173K to support Okanagan seniors amid pandemic

United Way announces more funding for frontline programs

Vernon couple support Kidney Walk despite setbacks

Jacqueline Marioni has had two kidney transplants; both organs have rejected or are rejecting her

Vernon Vipers land prep school blueliner

Griffen Barr, from Nanaimo, was captain of Shawnigan Lake club in 2019-20

Okanagan home sales increase over last month, still below 2019 numbers: OMREB

Sales, listings see increase over May’s numbers but dwindle in comparison to 2019

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Princeton RCMP sergeant kills cougar threatening residential neighborhood

An RCMP officer shot and killed a cougar, close to a residential… Continue reading

Pilot project approved: Penticton to allow alcohol in outdoor spaces

For almost two hours, council debated the proposed pilot project, before eventually passing it 4-2

Drugs, machete found in truck with stolen plate driven by Salmon Arm man

Chase RCMP arrest driver and have vehicle towed

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment in schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Top cop calls video of Kelowna Mountie striking suspect ‘concerning’

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Most Read