The New York Post has reported on the on-going health insurance crisis that many restaurant workers are facing as establishments around New York shutter their doors. Waitstaff and kitchen workers are being laid off in large numbers, entering a dismal job market, facing spotty health insurance coverage and uncertain hopes for government aid.
Many workers who rely on tips find themselves in an unstable situation, questioning how they will survive the shutdown. According to the New York Post article, “for those scrambling for a fresh source of income, among the few places hiring are grocery stores, or warehouses operated by Amazon, which have been getting slammed with orders from holed-up customers nationwide.” A staggering 3.3 million Americans have filed for unemployment as state-wide quarantines have forced massive lay-offs.
Unfortunately, little has changed for restaurant workers in the area of health insurance coverage, as many establishments do not offer coverage for their waitstaff and kitchen workers. “For many restaurant workers, the cost of health insurance when it’s provided is prohibitive, and small restaurants don’t provide health insurance,” said founder of Waiterpay.com, Louis Pechman in the New York Post’s article.
Certain resources may be available to restaurant industry workers during this difficult time. These include:
• Restaurant Worker Community Fund has funds available for restaurant workers in need of financial assistance, as well as lists of resources on their website.
• Restaurant Worker Solidarity NYC has created a Facebook page meant to provide resources, gather supplies, offer knowledge, childcare, and help navigate the system or even just a place to vent about the stress of dealing with the personal and economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
• Mutual Aid Fund for Service Workers — For service workers that have lost income because of COVD-19. DM @adivarshneya or @ohohohophelo with your name, money sharing handle, email, and phone number.