Restaurant patios in Ohio can open for business again under new safety guidelines as of today. Indoor seating at restaurants and bars begins next Thursday.
There will be restrictions — including dividers or space between tables — and while important for helping control the spread of COVID-19, those restrictions are going to result in less of everything that the bar and restaurant industries are used to — less business, less customers, less profit and, crucially, less tips.
All this is to say: If you're planning on hitting a restaurant this week or next or going forward, you better also be planning to tip like your money is on fire.
Many of the servers and bartenders that are going back to work are doing so because they have no choice in the matter.
To add insult to that injury, the amount of money they get in tips will be down dramatically due to those restrictions on occupancy and social distancing measures that will result in less tables per server, less customers per bartender. So now, not only must they work in potentially life-threatening conditions, they're going to have to do so for less money.
If you're a decent person, you've already been tipping like crazy for the many deliveries you've had brought to you while you've stayed safe in your house during the pandemic. And while you should definitely keep that up, you should realize that the servers and bartenders have to deal with the same safety issues that come with working during the coronavirus crisis, but without the uptick in demand delivery drivers have seen — in fact, just the opposite.
In other words, tip hard. 100 percent is a great tip, in this situation. Plus it's so easy to do the math on it! Take the total on your check and double it, then walk away knowing you did the right thing.
If you're sincere in your stated goal to support the businesses in your local community now that the city is opening back up, you need to remember that it's not just the ownership that needs your support to stay afloat — the people serving you your food and drinks do, too.
Show them you appreciate their efforts. Dump out your whole wallet. And if you can't afford to do so, maybe just stay home.