‘It’s just unfortunate’: Bartender, COVID-19 survivor awaits uncertain future amid new state restrictions

Is panic-buying back in Louisville?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Restaurant and bar owners across Kentucky are preparing for three weeks of uncertainty starting Friday, when Gov. Andy Beshear’s new executive order, aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, takes effect.

The order includes several restrictions, including requiring bars and restaurants to only serve patrons outdoors or through carryout. No indoor dining will be allowed. The governor said $40 million in federal funds awarded to Kentucky have been set aside to assist businesses affected by the restrictions.

Wednesday’s announcement came as a hard hit to the service industry, and to those who have made a career out of it.

“Especially for two people who are trying to start their future and trying to save and build a life, it’s nerve-wracking,” Olivia Mishloney said. “It pushes our plans back really far.”

Currently in graduate school, Olivia Mishloney has been making ends meet as a bartender at a local restaurant. In May, during the first government shutdown, she lost her job and filed for unemployment. In the summer, when business picked up, she was re-hired. Now, with the new round of restrictions, Mishloney is worried she may have made her last drink.

“I struggle to see how they’ll be able to keep 100 percent of the staff on,” Mishloney said. “But, even if they do, I expect a drastic pay cut. It’s just, for me right now, should I take the layoff and take my chances with the unemployment because I’m starting my new job in January? I don’t know.”

To make matters worse, Mishloney was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 and has been in quarantine ever since.

“I described it as the flu and mono kind of combined,” she said.

Through it all, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for her. She told WAVE 3 News she has turned the corner with her symptoms and is looking forward to a new full-time job after the holidays.

Her fresh start is six weeks away, but Mishloney said she knows she’s lucky to have a backup plan, something she said many others in her industry do not have.

“So I understand why this industry is being hit, because it’s a non-essential industry,” Mishloney said. “It is for fun. It is for people to gather and people to socialize and for humans to do what humans do. Unfortunately, that’s what’s spreading this disease right now. It’s just unfortunate to see a lot of good people that I know who have families ... and this is their career and it’s a very beneficial, amazing career that’s being attacked right now.”

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.