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Out-of-work servers concerned about easing restrictions too soon

Posted at 5:36 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 20:10:30-04

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — As pressure mounts for Utah leaders to open up the state’s economy, out-of-work restaurant servers worry it may happen too soon, putting themselves and their customers at risk.

Governor Gary Herbert said there needs to be a steady decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations before he will lift the stay-at-home directive, suggesting that may happen as early as May.

Before COVID-19 shut down restaurants in March, Madeline Watterson stayed busy serving customers at least five days a week in Salt Lake City.

“It’s been a drastic difference to only working one day a week,” she said outside Cafe Niche downtown.

Yet, she’s not supportive of the proposal to open up the state to in-person dining in May, even though it means she’d be back to work full-time.

“It sucks but we are doing it for the better good, even for the safety of ourselves. I’m not an at risk person but you have to be doing it with other people in mind,” said Watterson.

That concern was echoed by several servers who spoke to FOX13 who either had their hours drastically reduced or eliminated completely.

"We are all itching to get back to work but we also don’t want to put anybody in danger,” said Huu Tran, who had two serving jobs in Weber County.

"It’s just too soon for that. It’s not healthy right now,” said Jessica Carter, who has worked as a server for nearly 20 years.

Carter admits if her national chain restaurant had sit-down customers next month, she wouldn’t feel safe.

"It’s not conducive to a healthy environment if we are trying to prevent the spread of illness,” Carter said, who is a nursing student and single mom.

"If we have more information three weeks that makes the world more confident to go out then I will feel fine. But as of today, we just don’t have enough information to make that decision,” said Tran.

State leaders have not given a specific date on when they will be easing back on the state-wide 'Stay Home’ directive, only suggesting the end of April or early May.