Restaurant workers are gathering support
Stay-at-home orders are sweeping the country and the restaurant industry is getting hit hard. Many have had to shut down in an effort to comply with CDC guidelines to limit the spread of coronavirus. People have lost their jobs, and some businesses may never recover. But restaurant owners and workers are fighting back. And their voices are being heard:
Award-winning and celebrity chefs and restaurateurs across the country (including Alice Waters, Curtis Stone, and Reem Assil, among many more) have come together at Change.org to start a petition to save the industry. They represent cities across the country like New Orleans, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, and so many more. Among their demands are emergency employment benefits, waiving payroll taxes, and allowing restaurants to sell alcohol with takeout and delivery purchases (which some states are already allowing). In less than two weeks, over 375,000 supporters signed on, and their efforts have been covered by Forbes, Fox News, and hundreds of other media outlets.
Kyle Alano of Buffalo commented, “I’ve been cooking professionally for over 13 years and now suddenly unemployed and virtually unemployable for the immediate future… Don’t take our passion from us.”
Meanwhile, Relief Opportunity for All Restaurants (ROAR) is a collective in New York City fighting to save restaurants at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. They brought their voices to Change.org and have gathered over 80,000 people around their movement so far. With their voices combined, as well as major media coverage from outlets like The New York Times and Bloomberg, they’re putting pressure on New York governor Andrew Cuomo to support closed restaurants with income replacement plans and rent abatement to ensure that no restaurant will be left out in the cold after we recover from this pandemic.
“I work in a restaurant and have worked in restaurants for 20 years. It’s my livelihood and my passion. It’s where people congregate to celebrate and also come together in times of sadness. The restaurant industry needs help to provide for everyone here in one way or another.businesses don’t go under,” Charlene Chew of Astoria commented.
On the west coast, workers from Seattle restaurants and bars have pooled support from over 35,000 signers (and counting) to save restaurants and bars from extinction. They’re asking the Seattle city council and Washington state governor Jay Inslee to enact immediate financial relief to save the soul and spirit of the city. Local broadcast media and newspapers like the Seattle Times have been covering their story, too.
Chris Elford of Seattle commented, “My wife and I have poured everything into our bars. These lauded local businesses won’t survive without aid from the government.”
It’s not just restaurants. The entire food supply chain is at risk. Ariane is the CEO of D’Artagnan, a retailer of high-quality and humanely-raised meats. She knows that restaurants and food retailers depend on farmers and food producers to bring food to customers, so she started a petition to save the small independent food industry. Without these businesses, there could be a larger crisis in the country.
During this crisis restaurant workers, bar owners, food retailers, and chefs are coming to Change.org to make real change. They’re fighting to save more than their restaurants — they’re saving an industry that we depend on to survive. There are thousands of people starting petitions to pressure those in power to make sure that no person — or business — is left behind. Click here to learn about related petitions.