The coronavirus pandemic has peeled back the layers of everyday artifice in the US to reveal the many, many casual horrors underneath the surface. Many restaurant workers have been forced to return to their dangerous jobs in lieu of support from the US government. As if the idea of having to risk your life so that people could pretend things are fine wasn't bad enough, a new survey reveals that instances of harassment have increased during the pandemic.
The survey of over 1600 restaurant workers by One Fair Wage found that over 40% of workers noticed more frequent instances of sexual harassment from customers in their workplace. Individual reports included a customer saying, “Take off your mask so I can stick my tongue down your throat" and another asking a server to take off her mask "so they could see my face and decide how much to tip me.”
"More than 40% of workers (41%) reported that there has been a noticeable change in the frequency of unwanted sexualized comments from customers, and just over one quarter (25%) report that they have experienced or witnessed a significant change in the frequency of such sexual harassment," the report states.
An overwhelming majority of the workers surveyed said they had seen their tips decline during the pandemic. 83% of responders said that their tips have fallen with two-thirds saying their tips have dropped by as much as half. More than three quarters of those surveyed said they had seen customers become irate and hostile over COVID-19 protocols.
They aren't getting any support from their employers, either. Almost 70% of workers reported that their restaurant was not following safety procedures. 44% of restaurant workers shared that at least one of their co-workers had contracted coronavirus. 88% said that they knew someone who had come down with the virus.