Bartenders, Servers Struggle to Stay Afloat Without Jobs and Tips

Bartenders and servers struggle without jobs and tips to stay afloat during coronavirus pandemic

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Bars like Gossip Grill in Hillcrest would normally be bustling during the late afternoon if it weren't for the coronavirus pandemic.

“Happy hour's from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., so right now would be you know blackout lemonades," employee Dida Padilla said.

But for bartenders and servers, who also use tips to live on, the atmosphere during the coronavirus pandemic is anything but happy.

The economic shutdown means their tips jars are empty, much like the seats in this once bustling bar.

“It’s a big change,” Padilla told NBC 7.

Moe Girton, the owner of Gossip Grill, also spent 20 years as a bartender and told NBC 7 that workers who worked for tips didn’t know what hit them.

“One thing about tips, servers and bartenders blow through them. It’s cash in the pocket," he said.

Girton said many servers and bartenders are on unemployment but are doing pretty decent; though the future is uncertain.

Padilla said as a result of COVID-19 she's thinking about how she will spend those tips in the future, “Really evaluate what’s important, what you really spend on in life. Do we need to go out and eat or do we put away?”

In the meantime, Girton is helping many of her long-time employees with other kinds of work like painting. And Girton is giving their customers a chance to pitch in too with take-out and t-shirt sales.

“We’re raising money too for a staff,” Girton said. “Everything we can to make sure they’re good.”

She'll continue until it is safe for her servers to start serving safely again.

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