Interview: Brian Klose
Brian Klose works as a manager at the restaurant and pub Reynolds Tavern and also works as a substitute teacher at a local middle school. I chose to interview Brian as opposed to other managers because of how long he has worked there and his lengthy experience. He worked at Reynolds Tavern before the pandemic started and has experienced what it was like as the pandemic was starting.
Liz: What are some ways in which your job has changed the most drastically since the pandemic started?
Brian: I am a manager and a lot of my job before pre pandemic has to do a lot with talking to a lot of people. Sort of being all around the restaurant being upstairs being outside being downstairs and that changed a lot with pandemic stuff because I’ve mostly just been stationary. Answering phone calls, sort of delegating stuff instead of just going out and talking to people. Obviously the mask is a big one, just having to wear face coverings, its kind of hard to remember what it’s like without these because it’s been so long. I say those are the two biggest changes.
Liz: My second question, Do you think there are any things about the restaurants you would change in how their pandemic response was handled?
Brain: I don’t think so, I think out of the restaurants that I interacted with, even early on in the pandemic and even now we’ve taken it the most seriously in terms of front of house stuff. I’d say the back of house didn’t really change, people just put on masks but that was really the only change for people who were front of house were the masks. So I would say that that could’ve been heavily improved on. I think the transparency with which we would be able to you know find out if somebody had covid in the staff could have been better but in terms of operating the restaurant for people to come in we did a lot better than others.
Liz: Alright so the third question I have is how do you think post pandemic life will affect your life as a restaurant worker?
Brian: I think it’ll make me a lot more aware of how i interact with the customer base. Since opening during the pandemic I’ve definitely kept a distance from a lot of people coming in and out. And just sticking by the staff. That will probably stick around and I feel like a lot of restaurant have become more comfortable with the reduced seating, I know we have, we cut down our seating by a pretty decent amount but it hasn’t really cut into the business much and it actually made it a lot easier to handle with the staff that we have.
Liz: Alright and the last question I have is, “Are there any situations in which you had to strictly enforce covid guidelines? If you have please give an example.”
Brian: Yes, one of our restrictions was for groups. We only were and still are only allowing 6 people maximum, and with only one or two tables being able to accommodate that, it a lot of times would cause some tension with groups that wanted to come in. They were maybe a bit more lose about covid than we were. I will say a specific incident that I had to deal with and enforce this sort of things was during the legislative session in Annapolis. We have the state capital so we have a lot of out of state people come in for those sessions. They would come in and they would treat the place a lot more casually than we the restaurant workers would, not take it as seriously. So there would be multiple times I would have to go up to legislatures just to inform them of our rules that we have at this restaurant that we are allowed to enforce. And they would often give me a lot of pushback, being really smart about it and being just not kind about it because they felt like they knew the mandates better than us. Even though they weren’t really the ones affected by it. That was definitely the most common scenario where I had to enforce these guidelines. There were very few times where people would come in without a mask because we were going a pretty good job at enforcing masks so that really wasn’t a big problem. Mainly it was and is just larger groups thinking they had more freedom than they did.