PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A number of bartenders and restaurant workers are leaving their jobs on Tuesday with no idea when they will be coming back.
“It’s kind of like a nightmare, honestly,” said bartender Emma Younkins.
The no alcohol order now in place in Allegheny County has forced restaurants to make more cuts as they plan for another loss of revenue.
“The last time we thought we were going to be closed for two weeks and it was 86 days later — I counted. This time there isn’t even a time limit set so it could be two weeks or another three months. We haven’t heard anything,” Younkins said.
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“Some people didn’t follow the rules so now we all have to suffer,” said Matt McClelland, who is the chef at Carmella’s in the South Side.
McClelland will still be working, but told KDKA paychecks will suffer because less people will be coming in to dine.
“My wife is in the industry, I’m in the industry — these affect us. These decisions are affecting families and everything else,” McClelland said.
“As much as we want people to be safe, you can’t be safe if you are homeless too,” he went on to say.
Younkins said she has the same fears, plus as the extra $600 from the stimulus package is set to run out at the end of July, she is unsure how she will survive.
“Even with that, I would make more money at my job, doing my job, but when that runs out, it’s not going to be livable. Unemployment isn’t supposed to be livable, but it’s not my fault I’m getting laid off,” Younkins said.
The latest numbers from the state show that nearly 42,000 people filed new unemployment claims just last week for a total of 2 million new claims since March.
Pa. Lodging and Restaurant Association officials told KDKA it’s too soon to predict just how many new claims will come out of Allegheny County.