Supporting Service Workers During COVID-19

I have the luxury of being able to do my work from my computer and not requiring a physical location to have to be present for my occupation. This is a privilege, and I feel incredibly lucky.

But not everyone is in such a situation, and I’ve been deeply concerned for my friends who work in the service industry since our local lockdowns for COVID-19 started. The people I interact with at cafes, friends who have served me at restaurants whom I’ve shared smiles and stories with, my hair stylist: these are all my friends who I treasure.

Their cashflow is in crisis, and without our patronage, their continued existence is at risk.

Here is a list of small local businesses I’m concerned about and am doing my best to support during the lockdown.

East-West Wingchun Kung-fu, Oakland. I’ve been a student at this school since April 2014. Jasan has never raised the monthly tuition within that time, nor has he required any sort of contract, and he allows students to come and go as he pleases. The nature of our practice is to be in each other’s faces, so no doubt, classes would not be able to continue running. This school has been an incredible influence in my life, and I have no hesitation in helping to support our community. I’ve pre-paid my monthly tuition for the next 12 months, and I’m also a member of East-West’s new Patreon.

Our House Cleaner. She comes every two weeks to clean our house and likely has multiple clients, but with this disruption, she’s probably getting no revenue. Ali and I decided it would only be right to pay her even if she won’t be able to come. She is someone we trust in our home, and we value the exceptional service that she’s able to give us. If she’s going through a tough time, it means we’re going through a tough time too.

KI-TO-NE Hairworks, San Francisco. I followed Hiro from when she was a stylist at Arty Hair Salon to when she first opened KI-TO-NE. She cares about the craft of her work, and last year she became a mother to a son. I drive across the bay from Oakland once a month to get my hair cut and to practice my Japanese. Hiro cut my hair for me so that I would look good for my wedding last year. Unfortunately, we’ve had to cancel my upcoming appointments, so I’ll probably turn into an Asian cave man soon. I’m currently working on finding ways to best help Hiro and Rena out.

The Liberties, San Francisco. My friend Ian became owner of this place last year. He told me how much he worried about his staff, and I’m concerned as well. He’s setup a way to take orders online on The Liberties’ website, and I plan on getting some take out to help support them. Even though I’m in Oakland, traffic across the bridge has been fantastic (silver lining!), so I don’t mind rolling over there to pick up some grub and to help my friends.

New Gold Medal Restaurant, Oakland. My family has been patrons of this restaurant in Oakland Chinatown since I was a kid and it was called Sun Hong Kong. We would often come here for our first meal after trips since they were the only ones open at 2am when we’d get home from our red eye flights. They’ve been open during the lockdown, so give them a ring and order some delicious rice, noodles, and BBQ pork for pick up.

And yet even more:

These are just a few of the people who have been there for me in my life, and I want to do my best in helping them in this difficult time. I hope you can find ways in your own life to be able to contribute. We may not be able to all be nurses, doctors, or scientists on the front lines, but we can each do a little to help us make the world we live in a better place–even if we’re going through a crisis.

We’re all in this together.

New Gold Medal Oakland, Yum!

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