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Downtown restaurant worker shares story after being laid off for nearly a month due to coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH ) — Hunter Vale works at Napolese Pizzaria in downtown Indianapolis. The day after Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered bars and restaurants to close their dine-in services he and his coworkers were laid off. While they understood why it happened, it hasn’t made navigating life without an income any easier.

Vale and his coworkers knew bad news was on the way after Illinois and Kentucky announced that bars and restaurants would close due to the coronavirus.

Photo courtesy Hunter Vale

“Everything escalated so quickly in this,” said Vale.

Now Vale and his coworkers have been without work or a paycheck for nearly a month.

“Most people in general, not even just in this community but across the state were not prepared to not working for one week. Let alone two weeks. Let alone one month,” said Vale.

Group chats between employees and other people who work in the hospitality industry have helped to share resources during this difficult time.

“Hey I found this, I found this, I found that. So kind of every day seeing what is out there and talking to other people in the exact same situation because there are thousands of us right,” said Vale. “And they all need the same thing and that is to pay their bills.”

Luckily Vale has been able to make it through since being laid off but that is not the case for some of his friends.

“This isn’t sustainable. So while I am OK this month, maybe I am OK next month, maybe I am OK the month after that,” said Vale.

Photo courtesy Hunter Vale

With many questions left to be answered, the hospitality industry is being forced to sit back and wait.

“Our paychecks came from the community right. The people tipped us and so now that all of those public places are closed what do you do,” said Vale.

Through things like “Hoosiers Helping Hoosiers,” hope has been renewed for those hospitality workers who have fallen on hard times.

“It is good to know that the community is saying ‘We know, we have you, what do you need,’” said Vale. “And it shows just how deeply Indianapolis cares about the service industry and how much we care about them.”

WISH-TV has partnered with the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association (INRLA) to help support restaurant and hotel workers who have fallen on hard times due to the coronavirus as part of our “Hoosiers Helping Hoosiers” campaign.

There are several ways you can donate.

These are the items up for auction:

All contributions made during Hoosiers Helping Hoosiers are tax-deductible.

To see some of the recognizable faces helping us raise awareness, click here.