Hard Chaws power through adversity with grit and without complaint. They don’t give up.
As the devastating COVID-19 virus tears through societies, leaving carnage in its wake, we know many hard chaws not only will face the disease, but will triumph over the challenges it presents. They work as nurses and ER surgeons, as construction workers, accountants and retail clerks. In other words, they come from all of our ranks.
We think it is reasonable to predict that many of them will work in hospitality. Bartenders and cooks. Dishwashers and servers. Hosts and managers and owners.
It’s a tough business. People spend 12 hours and more in cramped, windowless boxes routinely reaching temperatures in excess of 100 degrees. Theirs is a world of gleaming knives and vats of molten oil, of grease-slicked floors, fire, ovens like the mouths of volcanoes, scalding pans, pots of boiling water and clouds of searing steam.
Dining rooms and bars get packed with booze-fueled guests who often forget the “guest” part of the equation. Dishes get dropped. Servers tread between tables into the wee hours. Sometimes they must break-up fights.
Many of us here at Team Hard Chaw work in hospitality. Irish pubs are one of our specialties. Irish pubs are not exactly serene places to while away the hours. The demands are intense in the kitchen, behind the bar and on the floor.
We love every minute of it.
The bloody Coronavirus disease has upended our beloved industry. In Colorado, where we all work, the governor on Monday announced a one-month cessation of all on-premises dining and drinking at restaurants and bars. Only take-out and delivery remains. In Denver, the mayor made a similar announcement, only it lasts for eight weeks, rather than four.
Meanwhile, states and cities across the country enact similar restrictions. President Trump and some of his officials, too, have urged people to stay away from restaurants and bars until the virus is under control.
We do not criticize government officials for making these tough decisions. The sooner we can pierce the heart of this viral monster with a wooden stake, the faster we all can return to the way of life we cherished prior to its appearance.
But we most definitely lament how all of this will affect hospitality workers. Hundreds of thousands of people are out of jobs today — on St. Patrick’s Day. They may not return to a kitchen or a floor until May, and that is only if we contain this damn virus. Good, hard-working people are scrambling to make ends meet today, and likely until the summer, at least.
Restaurant and bar owners now must break the bad news to their staffs. They also must face landlords and investors, some of whom might not practice leniency when it comes to things like rent and ROI.
The good news? Hard chaws populate the ranks of hospitalitarians more than nearly any other industry. They are tough cookies, accustomed to adversity and fluent in grit and determination. The best ones are savvy and ingenious, too. They figure out how to navigate the toughest patches.
On this somber, confusing, anxious St. Patrick’s Day, we lift a glass to our brothers and sisters around the world who spend their days and nights wielding knives in blazing kitchens. Who bring cheer to guests in need of comfort.
Hard Chaws, all.