Lafayette’s servers and bartenders face major losses

Photo by Allison DeHart
Carpe Diem's new Euro-modern chic.

The gist: In an effort to help fight community spread of the coronavirus, Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered the closure of all bars statewide and the closure of all dining rooms in restaurants until April 13. The order goes into effect at midnight. Restaurants can still serve takeout and drive-through (so please do what you can to support our local establishments), but these changes create major challenges to our area’s servers and bartenders.

$18,000 is the average annual wages of bartenders, waiters, dining room and cafeteria attendants, bar helpers, and hosts and hostesses in the Lafayette area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

$21,000 is the survival budget for single adults in Lafayette Parish as calculated by the United Way of Acadiana in its ALICE report, which set out to quantify the working poor, or those people who have jobs but don’t earn enough to cover the cost of living in their area.

5,870 are the number of bartenders, waiters, dining room and cafeteria attendants, bartender helpers, and hosts and hostesses who work in the Lafayette area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

$1,500 is the amount each one of these workers stands to lose in wages if bars and restaurant dining rooms stay closed for a month — though it may be more than that since the next month is often a prime time for dining out because of events like Downtown Alive! and Festival International. And because we’re in the heart of crawfish season.

And this shutdown may last more than a month. The CDC has provided guidance that all Americans should avoid any event with more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association is encouraging workers whose employment has been affected by the coronavirus to reach out to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. It’s working to expedite applications for unemployment assistance, and you may be eligible to start receiving payments.