The number of unemployment filings in Massachusetts spurred by coronavirus (COVID-19) related business shutdowns has been staggering, and for some like Justin Wright, the reality of this situation has been doubly painful.
Not only did he lose his job as a bartender at Door No. 7 in Wellesley when the restaurant began a temporary closure earlier this month to help contain COVID-19’s spread, but he also got laid off from his job as an account executive with produce supplier JW Lopes.
Wright and Door No. 7 colleagues have created a crowdfunding campaign to encourage members of the community to support the team while it’s out of work. “The virus has flipped the food service industry on its head,” he says.
Wright has been a bartender at Door No. 7 for about 9 months, and says the shutdown will affect staff financially and emotionally. They’re keeping in touch via group texting.
“We are all very eager to get back to work as soon as possible,” Wright says, adding that he’s actually thankful that the temporary restaurant shutdown gives staff the opportunity to file for unemployment benefits. “We all consider ourselves family, and the owners have always been there to be a part of everything. It is unfortunate to build such a great team where we all enjoy working together and lose this all of a sudden. From a bartenders standpoint at Door 7, we enjoyed seeing the familiar faces come into the establishment on a regular basis. It gave us all a great sense of community in Wellesley.”
With the loss of his account executive job at a produce company, Wright has seen the virus’s impact on both the restaurant and supplier end.
JW Lopes has been thinking outside its usual services, experimenting with home delivery to help people avoid going to grocery stores during the outbreak.
While Wright’s situation is currently rough, he’s staying optimistic. “It is truly amazing to see how people have been sticking together throughout all of this,” he says.