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

LETTER: Former Summerland mayors speak out on solar project

Five former Summerland mayors sign name to short letter

Emergency crews conduct CPR on unresponsive person in Okanagan Lake

West Kelowna emergency crews are on scene at the shores of Jubilee Mobile Home Park

Summerland Museum reopens

Museum to open on July 15 with reduced operating hours

WFN eases COVID-19 restrictions for tenants and landlords

Westbank First Nations make changes as COVID-19 restrictions begin to slightly lift

Penticton photographer publishes book showcasing resilience of Okanagan people

Okanagan Strong showcases the bravery of many during crisis; from COVID-19, to floods, and fires

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Kelowna taxpayers could pay $90K for losses caused by cancelled Memorial Cup

$135,000 would be put aside for a potential bid for a future opportunity to host the tournament

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Motorcycle rider seriously injured in collision with vehicle on Highway 97 west of Pritchard

Chase RCMP report that motorcycle was attempting to pass when crash occurred

Predator mutilated cats in Kelowna: BC SPCA

The BC SPCA confirmed a mutilated cat was killed by a predator

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

$500 fine for Vernon man caught near Coldstream playground

Richard Slobodian, 58, served one night in jail and ordered to pay for breaching probation

Most Read