“When you work 16 hours a day, you don’t have time to think about anything else”: How the plague gave two Toronto restaurant owners a fresh start in Bracebridge

“When you work 16 hours a day, you don’t have time to think about anything else”

At the time of the outbreak, many of the long-serving bars and restaurant workers had left the industry, and the hospitality industry was experiencing a severe shortage of workers. While both labor and management voices cite money as the main reason – frustration over low wages or the continuation of government benefits, in your opinion – there are other reasons. Former Toronto hospitality workers Maruta Ankans and Scott Mochry, who have been in the industry for more than 35 years, said the holiday season had forced them and many in the industry to reconsider their options, leaving behind bars and restaurants. We talked to Ankans and Mochiri, who moved to Brussels, about leaving the industry, and where they are now.

Maruta I have been working as a waitress and waitress in Toronto for almost ten years. When Covie hit, I worked in Trinity Commons, and previously worked at Woodhouse Brewing Co. And I was in High Park Brewery.

Scott: It has been 25 years for me, give or take. I started university to pay my bills and decided it was a career. I really like it. Maruta and I met at my first bar in Kilgor. After that, I started the Toronto Patience Association, which did not last long. I spent some time at Hoff Cafe, and then Maruta and I worked with Mitsey’s sister. At the time of the outbreak, I had been eating and drinking in Queen West, where I had lived for six years.

Maruta To be honest, I did not intend to stay in the industry for as long as I could. Ten years passed immediately. I met a community that worked in bars and restaurants – he felt like a family. So when Covie hit, I didn’t know what would happen, but I didn’t think I would leave the industry right away.

Scott: Personally, I never intended to leave. While working in bars, I met a new person who said, “Oh, you’re a bartender – but what do you really do?” And I said, “No, that’s it. This is what I do. “But in March last year, my hours were cut short. I was very grateful to CRB. Everyone was terrified. For me, it was scary to find out if I could jump into a new industry in another hop.

Maruta I remember watching and thinking about CP24, oh, maybe this will be like SARS. And then, all of a sudden, everything was closed. I was not working, so I was collecting CERB, and it was good to have free time at first, but what do I do then?

Scott: I have a family in Bracebridge and Maruta’s family has had a cabinet in the area for years. Maruta always dreamed of leaving the city, but we really didn’t make a plan. It was just one of the things we talked about. We missed the opportunity to see the houses here; Of course, we do not think that homeownership is an option.

Maruta There was really no alternative in Toronto.

Scott: We saw a house in Bracebridge in August, and eight days later we were the owners. Our mortgage rent is half that of Toronto – and we are very happy with the rent in Toronto. We started the activity in October.

Maruta After a few months, it would not be an option for us.

Scott: It would have been worth it if we had waited. Our landlord told us that the price of our house would increase by 50 percent.

Maruta The big decision was whether we stuck in bars and restaurants and whether things were going back to normal or we wanted something different. When we got up here, it started again. We are no longer hospitable.

Scott: I am 46, and I have suffered from recurring movement injuries from shaking cocktails. The industry is punishing, especially as you get older. Many jobs are useless. Many jobs do not have a final game. So my thought – I left the city, I will start again. I left my stand in Toronto. I was afraid that if I started at another bar, I would suddenly turn 60. I didn’t think that was the right financial decision.

Maruta When we left work, I was able to re-evaluate our situation, look at what we have done for the last 10 or 20 years and decide if this is still a good fit – I felt like a luxury – if you could talk about anything, it would be a luxury.

Scott: There are a lot of people who leave our hospitality, but I don’t think CERB did. Because we had time to think. Most people in the hospitality area, especially the housekeepers, never found their favorite place. It’s getting better – young chefs are starting to treat their employees and co-workers better – but it was not long before people in the kitchen threw pans, or yelled, scorned, or physically assaulted at work. , Was normal. I think this is already changing before Covie.

Maruta But he was still there, to some extent. That is what drives people out of the industry.

Scott: People had little time for self-esteem, and they realized that such treatment was worthless. There are many situations in which people are not paid enough to go through the ordeal.

Maruta When you work 16 hours a day just to survive, you don’t have time to think about whether you can do anything else.

Scott: As a bank counselor at RBC, I have been able to develop my public skills into my work, and I am gaining recognition through mutual funds. Accreditation is self-directed: I can take the test tomorrow or in a few weeks. My role is to help people make future bank decisions. I love interacting with people, and I want to help people. It’s actually a more seamless transition than I expected, because I have to be kind and trustworthy – all the things I’ve really enjoyed about the bar industry. The hardest part was trying to figure out who I was. Mentally, it’s hard to try to recreate yourself. Twenty-five years later in the bar business, I made good money. I did a great job at my last bar, but it took me another 25 years. I’m starting a new career, and now I have a good chance of making a good, good salary.

Maruta I work in landscaping, and take gardening lessons. I am so lucky to be able to move here and start a new life. Not many people can say that.

Scott: I miss what the hospitality industry is all about. But that is not the case now.

Maruta I am only 40 years old. In my mind and body, I wanted to find something that was a little easier for me. I have fond memories of hospitality. Do I want to return? Probably not. But do I want to go in and do a shift or two once and for all? Yes, absolutely.

Leave a Comment