Employees face second layoff months after returning to work

Updated: November 24, 2020 11:35 PM
Created: November 24, 2020 11:31 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Just months after many restaurants rehired their employees following the first pandemic shutdown, the same employees are being laid off once again, because they work within the Orange Zone.

News10NBC talked to both an employee, and a couple restaurant owners as they prepare for another work stoppage. 

Dahlia Merced talked to News10NBC just hours before all restaurants in the Orange Zone had to shut down their indoor dining area and revert back to take-out, and deliveries. Merced works at The Old Stone Tavern and is pondering what her immediate future is going to look like. When the pandemic first hit she was unemployed for over three months. At midnight, she became unemployed again.

"I am worried about my income," said Merced. She continued, "I don't know if I was able to save enough to get me through however long this is going to be. I guess I'll have to take it one day at a time."

Back when she was unemployed she relied heavily on stimulus checks that helped her get by. She says she understands why restaurants must shut down again, but still has mixed feelings.

"I'm upset about losing work, and not being able to see our regulars, however, I do want people to be safe again so that we can get back to some type of normalcy," said Merced.

Her boss Mark Taranto says, this just isn't a good day for him.

"It's terrible. I got seven people I got to send home, and put on unemployment, and hope they can get through the system, and actually get their unemployment in a timely manner so they can afford their rent come December 1st," said Taranto.

Across town, Park Avenue Pub and Restaurant is getting prepared to go back to take-outs, and deliveries. Owner Scott Schalm employed 15 people before the pandemic. Now he's down to just his chef, head server, and dishwasher.

"Unless the take out pick up dramatically I am going to let my head server go. He knows this already, and it will be just my chef, myself, and my dishwasher who is actually my main bartender who was gracious enough to wash dishes just to go back to work," said Schalm.

Medical doctors we talked to earlier in the day said zip codes in the Orange Zone could go back to the Yellow Zone only if our local COVID infection rates drop, and remain low for 10 days or more.

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