Updated July 11, 2020 - 1:56 am
Like many in the hospitality industry, COVID-19 has hit Roxanne Gomez particularly hard.
After losing her job at The Golden Tiki in the original shutdown, the single mom still hasn’t been able to collect unemployment. So when the bar reopened, she was excited to return to work — only to be sidelined once again when she contracted the coronavirus. She’s currently symptom-free and eager to get back to providing for her family.
Yet on Thursday, as she awaited the negative test result that could clear her to return to work, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that bars would be reverting to Phase One restrictions, leaving the future of The Golden Tiki, and bars throughout the valley, uncertain of their next steps.
“I’m still left here with no unemployment, no help,” Gomez said Friday of her predicament. “I’m just so frustrated.”
The Golden Tiki has since announced it will remain open, without bar seats, at least through the end of the weekend. But even if that continues until Gomez can return, she knows the lack of gaming will have a big effect on the staff.
“That’s where you make the majority of your (tip) money, with the gamers. So that’s going to affect everyone, any bartender, everywhere.”
Anthony Marco, who describes himself as a “gaming bartender” at Bar Code Burger Bar feels the same way. His bar will continue operating under the Phase One guidelines, but with reduced hours and no gaming.
“It is a big hit, hour-wise (and) money-wise,” Marco says of the changes.
At Jackson’s Bar &Grill, owner Brian Slipock decided to close at 11:59 p.m. on Friday night rather than continue without his gaming revenue.
“We don’t make money on food or beverage,” Slipock explained. “It’s gaming. So it’s not worth it to stay open.”
And while he says he “saw it coming,” he’s frustrated to see bars saddled with new rules, while casinos aren’t.
“We’ve seen the videos of the pools at a number of the casinos: 200, 300 people not distancing, no masks,” he notes.
“I have three employees that work a shift. At my busiest now I’ll have 20, 25 people in here. So by shutting us down and not having 28 people here, it’s not going to make a dent (in cases).”
In Southern Highlands, the Italian restaurant Spaghetty Western, while remaining open, had to shut down its bar. Bartender Scarlett Brock, who is still waiting to receive unemployment payments from the initial shutdown, calls the financial impact of being out of work again “a knock in the face.” Moreover, she says there’s an emotional impact.
“I enjoy working and seeing my customers, a lot of the regulars around here,” Brock says. “So that’s actually taking a toll on my mental health, not being able to be with all of these people on a day-to-day basis.”
Nonetheless, she’s trying to put things in the proper perspective.
“I can’t be mad at any particular person, because no one particular person brought this virus to us. So at this point, I’m angry at the situation.”