Tonight we closed the doors to our restaurant. It will be closed for at least two weeks and I am overwhelmed with anxiety.
This isn’t the first time we closed for Covid. The first time was tough but this time somehow feels worse. The first time it was all new and it was scary but we were in a position of strength coming into a difficult situation. This time we have been limping along for almost a year with no relief in sight. The worst part is, we are one of the lucky ones. We were able to open back our doors, we are able to pay our bills and most importantly we have stayed healthy. But at what point will our good luck run out? How long will your good fortune protect you from the mess that is swallowing the world?
Our last day was filled with prep work. After all good preparation is what makes a good restaurant great. However, it wasn’t the usual prep we are accustomed to. Instead of peeling vegetables and seasoning meat for the next day, we were bagging everyday tools, consolidating freezers and checking expiration dates. We were preparing to close our doors. It feels counterintuitive to prepare to not work, nonetheless IF we return, we won’t want to return to a total mess.
Seeing everything bagged off to not be used is hard. I grew up in this restaurant. Watching it forced to close for reasons beyond my control is harder. There is no saving it from the temporary closure. The government requests it and our society needs it. The reality is that people are getting sick and dying. This is what we have to do to help. Again it feels counterintuitive because we feed people. We keep them fueled to work hard and stay strong. Yet for the moment we need to close our doors so everyone will stay home and stay safe. I just can’t help wondering what everyone will be eating for the next couple of weeks.
What will I be eating for the next few weeks? What will my coworkers be eating for the next few weeks? We eat at least one meal a day at the restaurant. I sometimes eat all three meals of the day here. Those are rough days but it happens. Signing everyone’s last pay cheques for the next couple weeks is even harder knowing we are taking away at least one proper meal for the day. Everyone’s situation is different but a good meal is a good meal. Giving that away for the uncertainty of the coming month hurts. I don’t want to do this and the emotional side of my personality is angry at every adult who has to be told how to wash their hands REPEATEDLY. The rules are simple; wash your hands properly, stay six feet away from people, wear your mask. Seems like a reasonable request to stay healthy and protect the people around you, still some people make it seem like rocket science. As a result we have to add a government sanctioned rule for staying home. Since everyone couldn’t handle the first few rules now we all have to stay home and think about our bad behavior.
So far what I have come up with is that we are still one of the lucky ones. We are still probably going to open our doors again, even though it is unclear when. We were able to pivot early enough to curtail any unnecessary wastage and again, most importantly, we are still all healthy. It is an unfortunate situation but we will survive. That seems like the only good option we have right now. Like any bad service, all you need to do is get to the end so you can start over tomorrow. Hopefully learning all the things you did wrong last time.