Student Stories: No More Patrons, But There’s PATRÓN

Student Stories: No More Patrons, But Theres PATRÓN

Francheska Kubacki, OCC Student

What will happen to the hundreds of thousands of bartenders that are now unemployed because of COVID-19?

On March 17, N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy mandated closures of bars and restaurants, along with other establishments, to help stop the spread of this deadly and quick-traveling virus.

COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, came from Wuhan, China and although it has not been confirmed, the word on the street is that it came from a wet market, where they sell both dead and live animals.  These markets pose a lot of risks of viruses being transmitted from animals to humans. This virus has now had over 500,000, with about 30,000 deaths worldwide.

If there is anyone like me, whose main source of income comes from tips from being a hospitality industry professional, they have also been unemployed for almost two weeks now. All hospitality industry professionals were encouraged to file for unemployment. The only problem with that is that there has been a 1,546% increase in the number of unemployment claims that have been filed as of last week, as reported on, an independent U.S. local news and information platform. This surge has caused the website to crash every single time I, along with other unemployed folks, have tried to claim our benefits.

As I was waking up and browsing through my phone the morning after all three of my employers had announced their closings, one of my friends on Instagram had posted a link for all bartenders to go to. It was the United States Bartenders Guild Foundation website, where they have a bartender emergency assistance program and an application for all bartenders to apply and possibly get a relief grant. It was very heartwarming to see that over 40 liquor companies have pledged large sums of money to help the hospitality industry community.

Bacardi-owned Tequila, Patrón, donated $3 million dollars and Jameson and Ryan Reynold’s own Aviation Gin donated $500,000. Other companies donated as well.

Jameson tweeted the following message in support of the effort: “Normally on St. Patrick’s Day, we’d be celebrating our favorite holiday with everyone at the neighborhood bar. And, while many may not be able to get together they way they’d like to right now—we know that only one thing is certain—we need to keep the spirit of this holiday alive together. At Jameson, that means standing behind the people that have made Jameson what it is today: our neighborhood bartenders. We are pledging $500,000 to support the charity of the United States Bartenders Guild, because we know that there may be some hard roads ahead for members in this community. To our local bartenders: You’ve always had our backs, and we promise to always have yours.”

In a world where we may be overwhelmed by the negativity of what’s going on around us, it is also owed to feel a deep sense of gratitude for those who are taking this time to help those that are less fortunate. That doesn’t only go for all these liquor companies who have donated their money, but most importantly to all the essential workers who have been donating a lot of their time, patience, and maybe even some of their sanity throughout this pandemic. As we don’t have a definite answer yet as to what will happen and when our lives will go back to normal, we can put ourselves in other people’s shoes (not literally, please practice social distancing!) and in the meantime remember to check in on your family, friends and peers.