In the restaurant industry, we are very neutral about everything. Politics don’t pair well with hospitality. I almost never betray this neutrality. I want everyone to feel welcome at The Riverside Inn, but recent events and behaviors are requiring me to advocate for my staff.
We are in a year of upheaval. We are all feeling impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic.
I often listen to the conversations at the bar. People are there to chat – with each other – with the bartender. They want to be social. These interactions are entertaining and informative. We have such a diverse clientele, I love what I learn from listening to these conversations. However, it’s those recent conversations that have encouraged me to stop listening and speak up.
The main topic of conversation right now is the pandemic and the impact it’s having on us. It’s something that impacts us all, with a wide range of opinions. For guests, initial questions start rather vaguely: “How do you feel about all this?” The staff remains neutral. Eventually, after some wine or cocktails, the real questions really start. “Do you think you should really wear masks?” “No one has this here.” “We have all quarantined here – so none of us have it.” “What a mess this all is, all for nothing.”
I’ve been struggling with what I’ve heard since we’ve re-opened. In the hospitality businesses, we are in the public domain. We are serving 50 people or more a night, many of which have arrived from areas with higher COVID-19 cases.
Mask requirements and sanitizing procedures are in place to protect us all. Our team wears them 4-12 hours daily. They are hot. It’s hard to be heard clearly while speaking through them. They hurt. They are 100% inconvenient. For our clients though, it reminds them that there is a risk involved in dining out.
I want everyone to feel welcome at the Riverside Inn but I must protect my staff above all. WE REQUIRE MASKS FOR STAFF AND GUESTS AT THE RIVERSIDE INN because I am unwilling to put my employees at further risk by neglecting national and state guidelines to enforce adherence to this rule. This is an unwaivering policy and not up for debate.
At The Riv, we are doing our part to prevent a second shutdown.
To those of you who do not want to wear a mask, that is your choice. I respect it. In return I ask you to respect that we will require them for our guests and for our staff for the foreseeable future.
My staff is more comfortable with the protection masks provide. I am more comfortable doing what I can to protect them. If you ask me personally, I’ll say: “I am happy being back out in public, but I am always glad I have on my mask.”