Letters from Lockdown 76: Ruby Wood

Dear the people I work with (and the entire hospitality industry),

One day we will be back, serving our tables and putting on our little fake grins. Laughing at the ‘one corona, hold the virus’ jokes and sanitising our hands in a synchronised fashion. It has been a hard couple of months: from the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme which introduced to us to our busiest days, to the loss of hours, redundancies and fears that came after. Throughout the pandemic, our jobs lay on the table; one minute being told that going to restaurants/pubs is dangerous, and the next that they are low risk. This oscillation in government policy has left us confused, and finally, back onto furlough schemes once again.

This is a reminder that you have done your best. You have taken the abuse from customers when they have tried to come in as a group of seven. You have worn a face mask and reminded others to as well. But by doing this, you have also made people smile on their birthdays, laugh at their anniversaries, and help bring some normality back into these troubling times. These times have been difficult on not only your pay check but also your emotions. Since being back from the first furlough scheme, I have spent many nights crying and thinking about the things that have been said to me that day. But I am also reminded of the kids who smiled as I bought out their meal and the adults who have thanked me for giving them kindness.

This next period of isolation is going to be hard. The government, once again, has given us nothing but uncertainty. And you are allowed to be angry. They have only focused on the economy when it suits them and have ignored the lives of us.

You have done amazing to get here, though, and once everything is opened again, you will be wishing for this extra time. It is difficult but take this moment to thank yourself for the service you have given people. Despite the endless customers who have screamed at you, you have stayed kind. And that is something to be proud of.


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