Opinion: Please treat servers with respect


Jenna Hatcher

Working in a restaurant means service with a smile and the customers are always right. But, there is a tipping point when people refuse to wear their masks. Being a server or a hostess during the pandemic comes with a learning curve, following new rules and guidelines. For customers it is simple: wear your mask when you walk into a restaurant and take it off once you reach your table. 

However, for some, that is too much to ask and they put others in danger of getting COVID-19. Working in the restaurant industry, there are countless examples of seeing customers walking in without a mask, despite a big sign at the front of most establishments saying you can’t enter without one. The blatant disrespect shown towards those whose job description is to cater towards a customer’s every need is baffling. 

During these turbulent times it should be a common courtesy to put on a mask when in public, especially in restaurants. Regulations might be different in Texas, but for all restaurants in Boone, North Carolina a mask is still required to walk through the door. Besides requiring masks, restaurants in Boone are sanitizing in between each customer and making sure each table is six feet apart to keep everyone safe. It is important to acknowledge that people are dying from COVID-19 at this very moment, wearing a mask could potentially save a life. Restaurants are open right now to keep their business and employees afloat, but that does not mean they will allow harassment in their establishment.

Putting on a mask for a short amount of time might seem pointless to some. COVID-19 can be spread when someone is talking, singing, coughing, sneezing and even breathing. Even in a five-minute time span someone could contract the coronavirus if they are not six feet apart. If there is not proper ventilation there is a risk of getting COVID-19 when people are over six feet apart. Restaurants do their best to keep the six feet minimum distance, but in certain areas such as busy walkways and restrooms it can be difficult to do so. Masks are the best option when it comes to keeping others safe.

For most servers, they don’t have to directly deal with the maskless customers. But, some will step out to help hosts deal with those situations. People who refuse to put on a mask may harass hosts and servers. Those in the service industry should not have put up with customers who refuse to wear a mask. Most restaurants allow their employees to ask customers to put on a mask, while other restaurants don’t. Certain restaurants either need the business to keep staying open or simply disregard regulations despite the harm that could come to their employees and others.

There comes a point when dealing with defiant customers becomes too much. People working in the service industry already work for low pay. They shouldn’t have to serve people who show them disrespect. There are too many horror stories from others who work in restaurants who have dealt with this type of behavior from those who demand service. Wearing a mask keeps everyone safe, so if those paying customers can’t wear one then restaurant workers don’t need to jeopardize their health. 

To show respect towards servers during the pandemic, follow the COVID-19 protocols for places of business. Wear a mask when entering a restaurant, keep a mask on unless you are eating or drinking and stay six feet apart when asked to do so. If it can be spared, tip some extra money or donate directly towards restaurants. The hospitality industry has suffered major losses during the pandemic. Overall, just be friendly towards the service staff: some are risking their health to ensure customers can receive the best possible experience they can have.