We’re four days into Indiana’s restaurant reopening, and five days away from Kentucky’s. If you’re interested in comparisons, or merely curious about what’s being asked of restaurateurs in these two states, here are the links to each state’s guidelines for starting all over again.
Indiana’s guidelines take up a single page and 300 words, albeit with links to more detailed information elsewhere.
Kentucky’s run six pages and contain 1,862 words.
This said, the chief difference apart from dates of effectiveness is one of percentages: Indiana restaurants may operate at 50% indoor seating capacity — and some are doing so, right now. Next Friday (May 22), restaurants in Kentucky can resume dine-in service at 33% capacity, with additional seating allowed outside so long as social distancing is observed.
What does it all mean?
That’s up to you.
But I’ve also been thinking about the people for whom these choices are more complicated. Hospitality employees need to ask their employers direct questions about their return to active duty, and customers should heed these words by Daniel Hill, as published in the Riverfront Times (St. Louis MO):
If you’re planning on hitting (a restaurant) you better also be planning to tip like your money is on fire.
Many of the servers and bartenders that are going back to work are doing so because they have no choice in the matter — essentially, they are hostages here. The end of lockdown means they’re kicked off of unemployment if their job invites them back and they decline. Fear of catching a life-threatening disease isn’t considered a good reason to stay out of work, so say the powers that be, so essentially, service people are being forced to choose between potentially getting sick and potentially starving.
To add insult to that injury, the amount of money they get in tips will be down dramatically due to those restrictions on occupancy and social distancing measures that will result in less tables per server, less customers per bartender. Servers and bartenders usually make $5 or less per hour before tips. So now, not only must they work in potentially life-threatening conditions, they’re going to have to do so for less money.
If you’re a decent person, you’ve already been tipping like crazy for the many deliveries you’ve had brought to you while you’ve stayed safe in your house during the pandemic. And while you should definitely keep that up, you should realize that the servers and bartenders have to deal with the same safety issues that come with working during the coronavirus crisis, but without the uptick in demand delivery drivers have seen — in fact, just the opposite.
In other words, tip hard. 100 percent is a great tip, in this situation. Plus it’s so easy to do the math on it! Take the total on your check and double it, then walk away knowing you did the right thing.
If you’re sincere in your stated goal to support the businesses in your local community now that the city is opening back up, you need to remember that it’s not just the ownership that needs your support to stay afloat — the people serving you your food and drinks do, too.
Cover photo credit: NBC News.