PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Bartenders and servers have been some of the hardest hit professions during the pandemic and while many are returning to work now that indoor dining is once again permitted in places like Multnomah County, many are still struggling and worry about the future.
Ellie Tallmage works as a server and bartender at The Fields Bar and Grill. She said she is worried about the possibility of Governor Brown shutting down restaurants for a third time.
“Did we think it was going to happen twice? No definitely not so now it’s just like well, is it going to happen again? Because we’re only at 25% because what if she cuts it off again,” Tallmage said. She said she feels both relief and frustration being back to work because things are still so uncertain.
“I went from you know working from every day, six days a week to not working at all and being on unemployment and racking up credit card bills to pay for my bills,” she said. Tallmage did file for unemployment but said it wasn’t nearly enough and she has a son to take care of.
“It’s $1,200 a month, that’s somebody’s rent alone, that’s my rent alone,” she said. “So how they expected people to live off of that I’m not really sure.” Normally, The Fields would be packed with people but COVID restrictions limit it to 25 percent capacity.
“There’s a couple people in here and there’s two of us working because there’s no point in bringing all of these people back,” Tallmage said. She is hoping for the best but still bracing for the worst.
“For the last year nothing has been normal so I don’t want to get my hopes up,” she said. If there is another shutdown or reduction in capacity, Tallmage said the government needs to provide help especially for those in the restaurant industry.
“It’s better than nothing at all, so I don’t feel exactly safe with the situation.” She said “She could just cut us off again and I really hope that doesn’t happen but if she does there needs to be some sort of relief plan.”