The following editorial is written in defense of workers in the restaurant industry. While every industry that deals with the public directly has similar frustrations, I'm writing about the one I have direct knowledge.
When did we become such SAVAGES! One would think that more than one year into this pandemic most people would be aware of the rules our federal, state and local health officials have put in place and have the patience and understanding to deal with limited seating. Sometimes you'd experience limited group size. You had to wait in you car or outside the building, instead of in the lobby or at the bar until your table is ready. Waiting just a little longer until your table or space at the bar has been cleaned and sanitized for your safety. Not being allowed to roam free in a restaurant until a seat is available. Not being able to order all the same things you use to from the menu because some items are simply not available from suppliers. Things are different! But NOOOOOO! There are some patrons who have decided the new rules don't apply to them and they are going to unleash their own frustrations on the restaurant staff in the form of defiance, arguing, name calling, bullying and threats.
Remember when this all got started and you couldn't eat inside your favorite restaurants? Remember when drive-thru, carryout, car-side or delivery were your only alternatives to cooking at home? During the initial stages of the pandemic and the shutdown order, restaurants were deemed essential and could stay in business with minimal staff and no inside dining. Understand that with no one eating in their dining rooms managers kept a limited number of cooks, prep staff and carryout/curbside servers. Many who could not be kept on got their unemployment and an additional $600 weekly enhancement to their unemployment ($300 Enhanced Unemployment Benefits will be in effect thru September 6, 2021) For some the unemployment and enhancement money added up to more than they would making on a normal basis making remaining jobless irresistible. Others offered or were asked to stay on staff and ride out the pandemic. For some, that worked out ok.
For a while there was a strong percentage of customers who accepted the carryout and delivery options and were fairly generous to the limited restaurant staff. For the most part it seemed that a true spirit of kindness and understanding took over the land of convenient dining. So much so that on occasion the tips were quite nice as if the customer was saying "Hey we get it. You aren't making as much as if you were actually waiting on us at our table yet here you are making the best of a rough situation. Have a little extra!" That was nice!
Remember how excited you were when restaurants returned to inside dining? But it was different, wasn't it?. There were rules. Smaller groups, separation between groups, empty tables or booths between other tables or booths and simplified pared-down menus. Oh yes, and smaller staffs. With all that, naturally, came the elimination of waiting rooms. You wait outside, in line, socially distanced on the sidewalk or you waiting for a text to your phone while you wait in your car. You no longer can wait at the bar until your table is ready. Those areas are to remain empty until they're sanitized for the next person who is actually going to eat at the bar. There are dividers between booths and between parties at the bar, too. It's a compromise for restaurant operators. If you want to be open you follow the rules.
What do we have? Restaurants are open but with restrictions, lower capacity and smaller staffs. It's apparent that some of you still don't understand and clearly have reached a level of frustration that you have no ability to maintain. So it gets directed at the server or bartender who, for the one hundredth time today is just trying to the explain the COVID-19 seating rules in place for your safety. That's why you can't sit down where's there's a placard that says "PLEASE DON'T SIT HERE"! This is generally where the defiance and name calling begins. It gets pretty ugly. I can't count the number of times that my wife has come home upset from the way she's been treated. That's no exaggeration!
I say to you customers please please please try and understand what's going on in the restaurant industry as a result of the pandemic. Seating rules are different. You just don't plop yourself down wherever and whenever you want. Counters and tables must be sanitized and that takes time. That's for your safety!!! Groups and individuals must be seated with separation from other groups and individuals. That's why you see empty seats and clear plexiglass dividers. And please, for God's sake, stop being so damn defiant, so rude and so down right mean to restaurant staff. It's not your hostess, server or bartender's fault. They didn't make the rules.
Let me let you in on a secret. Being an ass or a bully only embarrasses you and the friends and family there with you. Threats, name calling and throwing fits won't make the manager change COVID seating rules, get you sat any sooner and won't get you your meal or drinks for free. If you don't like it, order carryout and eat at home. Oh, and furthermore, If you aren't sipping or chewing, wear your mask.