VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.— It’s been almost two weeks since Governor Ralph Northam issued his executive order closing bars and restaurants to the public.
Many people in the food industry have been out of work since then, but one local server is finding new ways to put his skills to good use.
Daniel Rosario has 19 years of experience in the food industry, and he never questioned his job security until the coronavirus pandemic this year.
“I always had a joke saying that I’ll never lose my job because people always gotta eat, but I didn’t think about, ‘Do they always have to be served?' - and they don’t,” said Rosario.
Last Monday, Northam ordered that restaurants can only remain open for carry out, curbside and delivery. Rosario was suddenly out of his serving job at Mermaid Winery when restaurants were given their social distancing orders.
It felt like a punch to the gut, but Rosario has a wife and two boys he had to think about.
My wife and I pretty much went in, I say, 'panic mode,’" said Rosario. He started applying for whatever positions he could find.
It was during this same time that the grocery chain Kroger announced they were hiring for hundreds of jobs that needed to be filled immediately.
Rosario put in his application. He leveraged his knife skills as a classically-trained chef to snag a job at Kroger working in the meat department. He starts next week.
“It was a sigh of relief knowing that we are not just floating in the wind anymore— at least we have something coming in and we can balance our bills and finances,” Rosario explained.
He’s also increasing the cash flow by picking up small catering jobs.
“I had a little girl's 11th birthday, so I did poke for her because mom couldn’t find a restaurant doing any poke. I’ve done several vegan dinners for some people in the area— they can’t find vegan specific meals.”
Taking things one day at a time, Rosario remains hopeful and optimistic for the future.
“The one thing I always tell myself is nothing lasts for forever. This is going to be temporary.”