Speed Reads

not-so-fine dining

Restaurant hosts recall horrors of working during COVID: 'I do often times cry after most of my shifts'

In the wake of COVID-related health protocols, like masking and proof of vaccination, the job of restaurants hosts — once a "position of some prestige and power" — has become "significantly harder and more dangerous," writes The New York Times, as what are typically young and sometimes inexperienced women and girls work tirelessly to keep diners safe.

"I have been screamed at. I have had fingers in my face. I have been called names. I have had something thrown at me,"  said fomer hostess Caroline Young. "I have never been yelled at like that before in my life, until I was asking people to simply put a piece of cloth over their face that I was wearing eight to 10 hours a day."

In addition to anger surrounding health rules, guests are also "enraged about the longer waits and slower service" as a result of industry worker shortages. "Guests are much less patient," Brooke Walters told the Times. "I do often times cry after most of my shifts."

Denver-based 21-year-old Gracie Hambourger said she was warned about the difficulties of the industry before entering, "but nothing like this." She told the Times she is "tired of guests' recurring demands that she take her mask off because they can't hear her."

At one Manhattan establishment, hosts even keep an air horn close by in case a guest grows too disruptive or violent. 

Said Michelle Ricciardi, a Brooklyn-based hostess: "It is unfortunate that so many girls and young women get that job and are just left up there to fend for themselves." Read more at The New York Times.