It’s going to be a tough spring for people who used to work at restaurants.
After abruptly losing their jobs because of the coronavirus crisis, former waitstaff and kitchen workers at thousands of closed eateries citywide face a dismal job market, spotty health coverage and uncertain hopes for government handouts.
“My biggest concern is for the people making $15 an hour after the final paychecks come in,” said Brian Flodmand, chief executive of Great Dane, which operates the upscale Danish eatery Agern in Grand Central Terminal as well as the Great Northern Food Hall there.
Flodmand, like the 174 employees he had to lay off last Monday, lost his job too. He’s hoping he gets it back, along with his workers, once the virus ebbs.
“I’m more worried about the people who have a couple of weeks of cash on hand,” Flodmand added. “I don’t know what it looks like for them.”
For those scrambling for a fresh source of income, among the few places hiring are grocery stores, or warehouses operated by Amazon, which have been getting slammed with orders from holed-up customers nationwide.
In the meantime, the only safety net for many is unemployment insurance. While the ranks seeking the government benefit soared by 70,000 a week ago, Goldman Sachs projects that last week’s jobless claims will come in at a staggering 2.25 million.