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‘Am I still going to have a job?’

Lorenzo Woodside, 32, finds it hard to sleep at night.

He tosses and turns at night with the fear that he will not be able to return to work.

Woodside, who works as a restaurant server at the Baha Mar resort, has been furloughed since late-March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resort isn’t expected to open until October.

“The reopening date isn’t the biggest worry,” he told The Nassau Guardian.

“The biggest thing to worry about is that they said they won’t be able to bring everyone back. So, other than waiting on the reopening date, you have to worry if you’re still going to have a job at the reopening date.

“So, I don’t know. I think the hardest thing is waiting, wondering whether you have a job or if they won’t pick you to stay.

“So, after dealing with all these things, you’re still worrying about, ‘Okay, am I going to be able to keep my job? Am I going to have a job when they decide to make their cuts?’”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit The Bahamas three months ago, the government imposed a series of curfews, lockdowns, border closures and a plethora of other restrictions.

The restrictions forced the closure of non-essential businesses and hotels with no guests.

The government has announced its intent to reopening The Bahamas’ borders on July 1.

However, with visitor arrivals still expected to be low as a result of the pandemic, some resorts like Baha Mar have decided to delay their reopening date.

In a recent statement, Baha Mar said, “In March, we committed to support you as best we can up to 90 days. As we near the end of this 90-day period, we will be making additional staffing reductions to align staffing levels with projected business volume upon reopening.

“At the end of June, we will communicate to the individuals being impacted by the staffing reduction to discuss what we will do to support and assist you in making your transition as smooth as possible.

“We look forward to bringing as many of you back as possible once our business returns to pre-COVID-19 levels.”

Although the resort has been giving him a portion of his salary, Woodside said it’s not enough.

“I’m going to try to look for something to do at least from now until October,” he said.

“I don’t even know where to start to say where I want to work.”

Woodside lives with his mother and father who have also been furloughed as a result of the pandemic.

He has a nine-year-old daughter who is financially dependent on him.

He said one of the biggest challenges has been trying to stretch the little he has in order to cover his family financially.

“It keeps you alive and going but it’s not even close to a normalcy of life as you know,” Woodside said.

“I’ve had to cut back with everything. It’s only the necessaries now: the canned goods, small foods and stuff like that. Nothing extra.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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