While the outrageous cost of college in the United States is a topic for another day, one way that college students like myself try to help alleviate that cost is by working part-time or seasonal jobs.
But what happens when the job you work at is in one of the industries that has been affected most by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Over the summer, and during winter break, I worked as a server and host at a local restaurant in Alpharetta, a metro Atlanta suburb, called Alpine Bakery and Trattoria.
As February drew closer, I was thinking about asking to work while I was home for spring break. As March began, that was still my plan.
Then the week before I was planning to go home, all hell broke loose across the country.
Every news station reported an increasing amount of confirmed COVID-19 cases by the day, and government officials were warning people to social distance themselves from everyone else.
As the news began to break, I found out that all classes would be online until April, which meant that I could work for three weeks back home, which would’ve been a lot more than if I had only been home for a week.
As I began my journey back to Alpharetta, it seemed as if the world was ending: grocery stores stormed for every last morsel of food; masks, gloves as far as the eye can see. It seemed that trying to get a few extra hours at work would be the least of my concerns.
As the world has learned to live in the COVID-19 reality, local restaurants like the one I work at have been hit the hardest, as most states have “stay at home orders” in place for the foreseeable future, and many of these restaurants are going to have trouble keeping their doors open for the next few weeks.
Like most restaurants across the country, mine is still offering take out options, but there is no place for in-house workers, like servers, hosts, and bartenders.
While I’m working to help pay for school, some of the people who work there are working paycheck to paycheck, and servers' whole salaries are dependent on the tips they get throughout the night.
Even though the U.S. government has issued stimulus checks that are expected to arrive by the middle of April, this may not be enough to help keep local restaurants across the country open for much longer.
So even if it’s through GoFundMe pages or through DoorDash, please help out these local businesses everywhere, as they are some of the companies that have been hit the hardest.