Why the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme sucks if you work in hospitality

PSA: Be nice to the staff, we don’t make the rules.

The new ‘eat out to help out’ scheme instigated by the Government to support businesses and encourage people to dine out during the pandemic is pretty wonderful for a cheap date night or just an excuse not to cook.

Having worked behind the bar myself throughout this period, I know first hand that it isn’t, however, so wonderful for the waiters and staff who are putting themselves at risk and who are struggling to maintain a sanitary environment just for you to have a meal.

Pubs and restaurants are under a lot of pressure to maintain a relaxing environment whilst maintaining all of the rules set out to protect staff and customers from Covid-19. With the constant U-turns and general uncertainty surrounding the rules, nobody really knows exactly how to play it but we’re trying our best.  Here are my observations and suggestions of how to make the best of this situation.

Reunited for a cocktail finally

Respect the rules

The social distancing rules may suck when you want to get all your friends together, but they are really important for keeping not only you, but everyone safe. In all bars and restaurants, there is a limited capacity so if you don’t pre-book, you may not be able to get a table.

There isn’t anything that we can do about this either, if we are caught breaking Covid-19 regulations, the premises could be forced to close down which will leave us at risk of losing our jobs. In between the ever-increasing pile of dockets and constant need to sanitise everything within a five-mile radius, there really isn’t time to argue with you over the rules.

Don’t get me wrong, we understand that it’s important to get out of the house and catch up with your mates after what felt like three years of lockdown but just take a second to think of those who are working there before complaining that these extra sanitary measures are annoying.

It’s all quite overwhelming, but we’re trying our best

With limited chefs and waiters on shift because of the distancing rules, wait times will be longer. I promise you, we’re trying our best! All we want is an easy shift and if you’re happy then we are too. Sit in the garden, enjoy your pint and make up for the lost time spent with your friends. The amount of complaints that we are getting for things beyond our control will affect our online ratings for far longer than the Coronavirus will (hopefully…).

Cocktails tasted even better after lockdown

Believe me, we’re just as confused as you are

The conflict between ‘go out every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday’ and ‘stay in unless you have to go out’ is something we’re all trying to get our heads around. If we stick to the rules, I’m as up for going out as the next person but we need to do it properly. If I ask you to return to your seat or come to the bar one at a time, I am not doing it to be unnecessarily difficult, it’s to protect you and everyone else.

Moreover, by asking for your number for the track and trace system, I’m not hitting on you or being nosey, I just want to be able to let you know if there is a chance that you may have contracted a potentially deadly virus.

Please wear a mask

In bars and restaurants, there isn’t a need to wear a mask which just adds to the confusion because if you’re going to collect a takeaway, you should be wearing one. Before leaving the house, I always do the check for phone, keys, wallet, MASK! You should be wearing one to protect yourself and everyone around you, unless you are exempt.

Please wear a mask if you can

By sticking to these rules, we’ll be able to maintain a happy and healthy, environment within the hospitality industry. It will make it a safer place for all and subsequently, a nicer place to be for both staff and customers.

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