COVID-19 Brings Stressful Circumstances for Business Owners


Monet Troche

By Monet Troche, CONTRIBUTOR

COVID-19 and the Shelter-in-Place Order have affected countless lives especially small businesses and professionals. Ana Pain, a restaurant manager at Devino’s Bar and Restaurant in Pleasant Hill, California, was one of those individuals that COVID-19 has been affected. These circumstances have also impacted Jason Thomas, a United States Government employee in Oakland, California. They are both unable to do their jobs from home so they have continued to commute to their place of business.
After the Shelter-in-Place Order was issued, Devino’s Bar could no longer have people come into the restaurant and eat at a table and could only be open for takeout and delivery. Devino’s interior needed to be retrofitted, pursuant to the CDC’s guidelines in order to keep the employees and their patrons safe.
“We had to set up a new front counter that is protected by a shield, and at the same time, blocking customers from entering the restaurant for the staff’s safety.” Pain stresses. “We’ve had to adapt to taking credit cards over the phone and we also signed up with a delivery/pick up service via the internet for customers to order and pay online.”
Keeping the number of employees that enter the restaurant is important, to minimize the number of people that come in contact with one another. Many restaurants are open for long hours and before COVID-19, Pain would usually work 10-12 hour days.
“I now work half the amount of hours I used to, therefore making my job more challenging.”
Pain went from overlooking her job on a day to day basis for many hours of the day to now having to overlook her job from home as best she can. “I’ve had to rely on my own staff to do their job and do what I have always expected of them,” Pain stated.
Pain mentioned that it has been challenging for her not to work as much as she normally does.
“I have to stay home for the safety of my family, and not being at work every day is very difficult,” says Pain. “When I come into work now I have to catch up on 3-4 days worth of work on an average of 3-4 hours.”
Thomas says that his job hasn’t had any major changes but he and all of the other employees he works with have had to adjust to the new requirements issued in order to get their work done safely, according to Thomas.
The office building that Thomas works at is not big enough to hold their work meetings, in order to safely be socially distanced from one another. They have to have their meetings either in their kitchen which is the biggest space in the building or outside. He says that having their meetings outside can sometimes be challenging as it is.
“Right next to the BART tracks so it’s very loud when the trains go by so that’s not always the best option,” Thomas further expresses. “In order to minimize exposure to COVID-19, we are using social distancing to the maximum extent possible. We are ensuring that employees who cannot telecommute have ready access to Personal Protective Equipment and a comprehensive guide for the use of that equipment.”
With the new adjustments of social distancing guidelines and having to wear masks at work. Thomas says that the hardest part of COVID-19 and new safety guidelines is the way employees communicate with one another.
“Wearing a mask can sometimes make it difficult to hear what people are saying.”
COVID-19 has affected everyone in many different ways. Those who work in different fields have had to adjust to new safety guidelines in order to ensure everyone’s safety and minimize the spread of COVID-19. I interviewed only a few individuals in different positions but I can only assume people in other professions can relate to the same feelings that Pain and Thomas have had.