|Photo of the author, owned by the author|
By Crista Jakacky
BANGOR, ME — Thursday, October 8, 2020
(I also submitted this for another op-ed. Hopefully they'll publish me again.)
A Letter to Gov. Mills, From an Ex-Bartender...
I have never once, that I can remember, regretted voting my party. Until the year 2020, when the pandemic took over the world, and my industry. You might remember me, I recently wrote the op-ed "Death of a Bartender." But you probably don't. I don't think you even notice us.
This spring, the little neighborhood pub I worked for closed for three months. We couldn't afford to be take-out or curbside only, it just wasn't financially possible for us. We reopened in June, and only survived for about a month afterwards. We were permanently closed by the end of July. I have been out of work and proactively job hunting ever since. But, after being a veteran bartender of almost 20 years, I will not get back behind the bar. I will not return to that industry at all.
I was just going over your phase four checklist for restaurants and for the re-opening of bars. I thought your checklists before this were ludicrous, and that I couldn’t possibly be more shocked or offended. But oh, how wrong I was.
I won’t get into the impossible checklists imposed on us as businesses and employees, or the backlash we received on a daily basis from our customers. We tried to remind ourselves every day that they were angry at you, and just taking it out on us. That checklist and that animosity is no longer my problem, thank god. But now, even as a patron, I am subject to your unrealistic and unreasonable tyranny.
I may not stand at the bar. I may not stand at my table. I
may not walk around. And forget about dancing! If my friends are there, I may not
socialize with them, because they are not in my original party. I may not enjoy
live music. I may not sing karaoke. I may not have a group larger than eight.
So, I guess I can forget about having birthday dinners out. Or employee dinners.
Or bachelorette parties. Or Friendsgiving.
Or anything fun.
Not only am I an ex-bartender turned patron, I am also a musician. So, in addition to killing my small business and my industry, you’ve also killed my only other source of reliable income and the one thing that has kept me sane throughout this catastrophe. The musical community hangs on by a thread. We are dying, too. A few of us are fortunate enough to continue safely performing at establishments and private parties, but far less often than we are used to. I seriously hope you don’t take that away from us as well.
You’ve already taken just about everything else that makes us whole.