Restaurants make essential changes


Dane Sheehan

Downtown Whitewater businesses turn to alternative plans in response to Gov. Tony Evers’ safer at home order that lasts until May 26, 2020.

Makayla Fedler, Assistant Biz & Tech Editor

During the global pandemic of COVID-19, there have been changes to our everyday lives that have affected not only us as people, but our businesses and places that are looked upon as nonessential. The goal is to minimize the spread by reducing the openings of places that contain large crowds of people. One of the largest business sectors that rely on those crowds of people coming in are restaurants.

Restaurants are now closed, only provide curbside pick-up or delivery. Local and family-owned restaurants have had a heavy toll placed on them, but are also coming up with new solutions to make our new normal work, to accommodate the changes of our world, and to continue with their sole purpose as restaurants: to supply food to the people of their community.

UW-W Freshman Dustin Doome works for Culver’s and says that he hasn’t been able to work much since the pandemic started in the U.S.

“One of the main changes is that we closed our lobby and are only open through drive-thru to limit social interaction. There’s always one designated person handling the money and isn’t allowed to touch anything else,” says Doome.

He also assures that Culver’s business is still intact, since people who usually come in the lobby have now switched to going to the drive-thru window. With the changes to their policy, Doome says that employees have to get used to it but it’s all for the safety of everyone and to make sure we can stay open with no worries that we spread the virus.

Megan Russell, 19, works as a server at Outback Steakhouse and says that business is “incredibly slow” with dine-in shut down and only curbside pick-up and food delivery services available.

“Take away has been busier than normal, but in comparison to the sales we would be making with dine-in it’s nothing,” Russell says.

She was also there working when the safer at home order was announced and restaurants were ordered to shut down the following day.

“It was kind of surreal. I saw a lot of servers crying and talking with managers about options. For many of my coworkers this is their only source of income and they are supporting their children with tips. Since servers make most of their money from tips and don’t qualify for full-time benefits they were shorted out of any type of benefits and government aid that other out of work employees could potentially receive from more traditional jobs.”

Russell also claims that a lot of people were cut from their jobs once the news broke out and that now some delivery drivers are traveling well over 30 minutes away to deliver food in expanded delivery zones.

Kyle Ernest, 22, also works at Outback Steakhouse and said that the stay at home order needs to be taken more seriously as more and more people are trying to make ends meet by working.

“Employees everywhere are fearful for their lives. They don’t want to get sick, so how long will they continue to risk their lives for themselves and their families just to make a dollar. How long will that last?” Ernest says.

“We need to focus more on getting everyone secure and the stay at home order should be followed to the highest extent. Less contact means less sick and less sick means one less dead.”

For the safety of their communities, restaurants have gone above and beyond to keep the world turning by upping their safety and health guidelines in order to feed their community and to ensure the safety of their employees’ jobs as well.

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