It has been made abundantly clear how to prevent the spread of coronavirus with social distancing, best practices regarding hygiene, etc. These measures are incredibly important to protect at-risk populations and should be taken very seriously.
What’s harder to find are clear steps we can take as individuals to help hourly workers who are struggling financially during this time of mass company closures.
This article began as an internal list of crowdsourced ideas because Beekeeper employees wanted to explore ways to personally help frontline workers whose jobs have been impacted by the coronavirus. After we compiled all the ideas and finalized the list we realized that we probably aren’t the only ones wondering how to help our communities right now.
In this time of uncertainty where we all feel powerless, it’s important to remember we can still play a big role — we just need to be creative and take action.
With that in mind, we bring you a special edition blog post dedicated to hourly workers who have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, and how you can help make their lives a little better and brighter until this pandemic passes.
The Story of Kary Wayson
Seattle resident Kary Wayson has worked as a server at the same restaurant for the past 16 years. Then, seemingly overnight, the entire city practically shut down. Business and schools closed. Cruise passengers stopped showing up. People stayed inside. One of the largest cities in the Pacific Northwest suddenly became a ghost town.
The restaurant that Kary had faithfully worked at for almost two decades couldn’t absorb the loss of business. It was forced to close down until further notice, and Karly now finds herself in the same position that thousands of other food service and hospitality workers have ended up in — unexpectedly jobless and stunned.
Kary is now forced to dip into her limited savings just to survive and pray that her unemployment benefits kick in before her rent is due next month. Survival is now her new normal.
“Two weeks ago, things were still slow, but nobody had any idea that anything like closures would happen for anybody.”– Karly Wayson
How the Coronavirus Has Impacted Jobs in America
The reality is that Karly’s story is quickly becoming a common one for frontline workers across America, especially those who work in hospitality or food service.
As our neighborhood cafes, eateries, and retail shops reluctantly cease operations, business owners are forced to send their employees home — often without a paycheck.
Here are just a few statistics to illustrate the magnitude of how many American jobs will be impacted by the coronavirus.
- As of Wednesday, March 18th, job-loss projections range up to 4.6 million.
- According to an NPR/Marist poll, 18% of households already reported someone being laid off or having hours reduced because of the coronavirus outbreak, with women hit harder (21%) than men (16%), and people who earn less than $50,000 hit even harder (25%) than those earning $50,000 or more (14%).
- If the outbreak worsens, some 24% of employers plan to downsize, according to a survey of business owners conducted March 7-13 by the wealth manager UBS.
How You Can Help Frontline Employees Impacted by the Coronavirus
Some frontline workers that have been laid off due to this pandemic have filed for unemployment, but the reality is that most state-run programs are simply not prepared to process the high volume of claims fast enough to provide immediate relief.
The situation has left many good samaritans wondering what they can personally do to help out.
If you’re looking for ways to help frontline workers in your community during this global crisis, we’ve put together this list of actionable ways you can help. All crowdsourced from our very own team here at Beekeeper.
15 Actionable Ways You Can Help Frontline Workers Right Now
- Buy gift cards at your local businesses that are still open.
- Go crazy with Ubereats, DoorDash, and other delivery apps (don’t forget to leave a big tip!) It’s finally your time to feel guilt-free about being lazy when it comes to cooking.
- If you need extra help, give someone out there a job and hire a virtual assistant!
- Support companies who are still paying their workers for scheduled shifts even though they’ve shut down by ordering products online. Philz Coffee is a great example. Buy products from them or other companies who are supporting their employees.
- Many restaurants are staying open for takeout orders only. Show them some love and grab a to-go order (and practice social distancing of course).
- Start a virtual tip jar for your neighborhood restaurants like the idea from this article.
- Donate to this national public Bartender Emergency Assistance Fund.
- Write rave reviews for businesses on Yelp, Google Reviews, and Facebook. Because anyone who is still working in a customer-facing role right down deserves some positive recognition.
- Many service workers are setting up GoFundMe accounts. Show them your support and contribute to your favorite server or bartender’s fund.
- Tip more than you usually would. And then tip a little more. And then double it 😉
- While brick and mortar retail stores are closing, online retail is booming. See if you can keep patronizing your favorite shops (especially mom and pop stores) through digital channels.
- Donate to your local food banks. While some folks were stockpiling food, others missed out, and they may now be forced to go without.
- Call and check in on your friends who are frontline workers. Sometimes the best gift you can give someone is your attention and compassion.
- Share new job opportunities on your social media channels. Amazon is hiring for 100,000 positions right now!
- Above all else — be extra, extra kind to any customer service employee you come across who is actually still working. Just because they haven’t lost their jobs, doesn’t mean they aren’t going through it. They probably wish they could quarantine at home too, but don’t have an option financially.
6 GoFundMe Fundraisers for Frontline Workers You Can Donate to Right Now
Here are just a few of the many funds you can donate to. You can help these people in need or research fundraisers in your own community.
“I have no savings or paid sick leave/paid time off from work. I’m going through the process of claiming unemployment from the state and that will top out at $275 a week if I’m lucky. I’m not sure if I can find another form of income for rent/bills next month.”
“I am a barber in Brooklyn, NY! My boss had to close the barbershop due to the Coronavirus until further notice. This affects my income 100% alongside with many other service industry workers! I am asking for help to cover the times I am not able to work to keep the Coronavirus virus from spreading.”
Alex Mason (Group GoFundMe for Restaurant Workers)
“Some of us are working to put food on the table at home. Some of us are trying to get by while taking college classes. Some of us are working to pay medical bills for loved ones.”
“I work in a restaurant which is not being allowed to be open for in-house dining and my kids will be out of school with no sitter for at least three weeks. This leaves us with no income to support food on the table, to pay bills and just everyday things we need. I hate to ask for help but I’m a single mom and I don’t know what else to do.”
“I am a hard-working single mother and always am able to handle my affairs, but unfortunately being unable to work is going to take a toll on my family and fast. I am reaching out for help in hope’s that anyone can find it in their heart to help.”
“In August of 2019 I was in an accident that broke my jaw, so I was out of work for four months while recovering and living off savings. I recently started working again, just to be sent home without pay for the safety of employees during the coronavirus. I spent all my savings on rent and necessities during my accident and recovering time so now I have THREE dollars to my name with rent coming in less than a few weeks. I hope this goes somewhere, even a dollar would help me right now!”
It’s Up to Us to Support Our Communities
Beekeeper is centered around recognizing the value and potential of each and every frontline employee. We are sincerely concerned about the well-being of hourly workers around the world during this time. And we know we’re not the only ones.
While businesses and local governments are scrambling to solve this crisis, ordinary citizens are looking for ways they can help in the interim. The field workers being laid off all around the country are our friends, neighbors, and family members. While government agencies race to process unemployment claims and put together stimulus packages, it’s up to the rest of us to step up and support each other any way we can.