Students working at cafes, bars, and restaurants are worried that their workplaces will close as a result of Covid-19.
“Although I know it’s smart for bars to close and large social gatherings to be reduced, it's my job and I don't know if I’m going to get any compensation from either the government or my employer,” said Sophia, who works at two bars close to campus. She is concerned that bars will close and she will lose her primary source of income.
Another hospo worker, Alex, was not as concerned. “Funnily enough, I'm not too scared that work will shut down,” she said. “Obviously, it could definitely be less income which sucks, but I guess I can pull out some more living costs and that can be a 'tomorrow' problem.”
All the hospo workers Critic spoke to had noticed a decline in customers compared to a normal week. None of them had received reassurance from their employers about what would happen if cafes, bars and restaurants were forced to close due to Covid-19.
Alex had noticed changes around the workplace. “We've really upped sanitising every single thing that anyone touches,” she said. “Menus come back and they're wiped down immediately. We haven't been busy enough that this has caused a disruption.”
Larissa also works in hospitality. She said that she was “not overly concerned” but “it depends how serious it gets”. She said that because she also “work[s] in the health profession as an Oral Health student,” she is “in this environment of having to treat everyone as infectious anyway”.
Alex said her overriding feeling was that “no one knows anything” at this point. Sophia said, in reference to the government’s economic plan to handle coronavirus, “I know that something has been released about it but I don’t know what that means or if it means anything for me.”
OUSA President, Jack Manning, said that OUSA are currently “working through scenarios to make sure [OUSA] can continue to best support students in light of” the virus. “We recognise that the developing situation with Covid-19 may lead to students facing financial insecurity, and any student who is concerned or impacted should contact Student Support.”
“We’re all just waiting [for them to close bars],” said Sophia. “I’m just like when are you going to pull the trigger and do it already? Because we’re cancelling a lot of events which isn’t really sustainable.”