CHICAGO (CBS) — As Illinois readies for Phase 4, more restaurants across the state are reopening.
Although many have shared excitement, not everyone thinks that it’s a good idea.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: One More Day In The 90s; Storms On The Way
CBS 2’s Marissa Parra spoke with servers afraid for their health, and afraid of speaking out publicly.
Joshua Leisner said as much as we’ve all missed our restaurant, not everyone is excited about them reopening.
“I’ve got bartenders, chefs, cooks, managers. If one of us goes down, we all go down,” Leisner said.
CBS 2 has seen dozens of messages and comments from Chicago-area servers wishing to remain anonymous. Comments like, “I wanna work, but I really don’t want to get my 6-year-old with asthma sick.” Another said “it feels like their back is against the wall.”
“The same worries that we had back in March, April, May, they come right back. And now you may not have a job if you don’t,” Leisner said.
The fear a lot of servers have is that they don’t get a choice to say no.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Building Heat
“If someone says I’m not sure, the company has the option of going to unemployment and saying ‘hey we’ve offered them a job and they turned it down.’ People have that fear,” he added.
And now that restaurants are opening at lower capacity, that means less tables, which means fewer tips.
“We’re obviously not going to gouge them to make more, but is there money to be made, can you make a living,” Leisner asked.
The question for a lot of them is whether a financial hit is worth the health risk. One server commenting anonymously “so employees are required to wear a mask to keep customers safe but customers can take off their mask once they’re face to face with us?”
Doctor Sharon Welbel, Director of Cook County Infection Control said this is a good reminder for patrons who might be forgetting their server is also susceptible.
“It’s not like the virus has gone away,” Welbel said. “And when the server comes to take their order, I would expect people to keep their masks on.”
Chicago has already seen a restaurant reopen only to close again. In an Instagram post from Sunday, Logan Square’s Longman and Eagle announced it was shutting its doors after an employee tested positive.MORE NEWS: Bronzeville Woman Pays Plumber To Fix Sewage Backup, Only To Find Out It Was On City Property
Something that Leisner and other restaurant workers are wary of spreading to their own. As for Longman and Eagle, it said “the staff is quarantining and being tested, and the space is undergoing a thorough sanitation.”