Louisiana service industry workers may have trouble surviving after closures related to coronavirus

Local news for New Orleans, Louisiana reported on how coronavirus restrictions have devastated the city’s economy and the food and drink service industry in particular. Workers who suddenly find themselves without jobs through no fault of their own have tried to find creative ways to make money and survive. 

Workers begin to organize and unite to deal with problems caused by forced closures

An interview was conducted with an advocate for hospitality workers in the city. He has founded new groups to help assist workers who lost their livelihoods and do not have health insurance. Some of the efforts are attempts to coordinate with the city’s government, while others provide mental health services for unemployed workers. 

Many are facing serious problems since the government closed down their businesses due to the virus. A lot of these issues stem from the fact that bartenders, waiters, and other such job categories have absolutely no safety net. 

Industries such as tourism and food service are expected to lose about 70% of their revenue for 2020, and the workers will sustain most of those losses through lost wages. Hotel workers and others who depend on tourism may do even worse. There are approximately 90,000 workers in these fields in the city of New Orleans alone. Estimates show that if one of these workers made about $40,000 the prior year, they will probably be right at the poverty line based on their 2020 income. This crushing poverty will inevitably lead to all other kinds of mental and physical health problems as well. Workers who had friends that they would see just about every day had been locked inside alone for months. 

Some of the blame for these problems was directed at both local leaders and ineptitude in the federal government. The coronavirus restrictions lasted much longer than initially thought, and there seemed to be little urgency to get people back to work or find ways to allow people to work through the pandemic. New Orleans is expected to be affected more than other cities due to reliance on restaurants, bars, and tourism that keep the city’s economy going year after year. 

Some workers have expressed concerns that bars are being treated differently than other businesses. The CDC’s guidelines recommend that bars stay closed during the first phase of reopening, regardless of capacity, while other kinds of business can open with much larger crowds than you might see at a small bar. 

Dealing with a sudden job loss

When someone loses their job, there may be issues with unemployment, unpaid wages, and missing overtime. If an employer is acting illegally or denying someone payment, they can become the target of a civil lawsuit.

Get legal help in Louisiana

There are attorneys in your part of the state who are ready to assist after a sudden job loss. To get assistance, contact:

Miller, Hampton, and Hilgendorf

3960 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806



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