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From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Food-Service Workers Reported an Increase in Hostility and Sexual Harassment from Customers during the Pandemic

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Image: One Fair Wage Logo, https://onefairwage.site/

Four in 10 food-service workers reported an increase in hostility and sexual harassment from customers during the pandemic, says a new study by service industry advocacy group One Fair Wage.

Nearly 250 of the surveyed workers shared comments they’d received. A substantial portion were requests from male customers that waitresses remove their mask — for instance: “He asked me to take my mask off so they could see my face and decide how much to tip me.”

While openly deciding a tip based on a server’s looks is cringey enough, other data were even more disturbing.

Sixty percent of workers who rely on tips say they’re hesitant to enforce pandemic protocols with customers, and 65% reported decreased tips when they did.

And it’s not just harassment and tips that service industry professionals are concerned about: 84 percent reported “being within six feet of at least one person not wearing a mask” during each shift; 33 percent say they’re in close quarters with 30 or more maskless guests each shift. And 44 percent reported that “at least one or more of their co-workers” had contracted the virus.

Once again, our lowest-paid workers are being asked to choose between their money and their life.

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