What are we doing to keep you safe?
Here at Masu Sushi we are implementing contact-free pickup. We are setting orders out for guests and collecting payment remotely whenever possible. Check presenters, pens, and anything touched is sanitized between uses. At any given time we only have three employees in the building – one in the kitchen, one behind the sushi bar, and one up front. We keep the air circulated and fresh, and we keep the same strict cleanliness standards as always when it comes to food handling and sanitizing restaurant surfaces. Our social distancing measures go beyond the restaurant, as that is the only way for this to truly work. Employees only go between home and work, keeping interactions within the same small group of people they work and live with. Those who share households have made huge sacrifices, including having significant others take leave from work, roommates filing for unemployment, or forgoing seeing their children for an extended time. We carpool to avoid taking public transit. Our circle stays small and controlled so as to protect ourselves and you.
Why are we open?
At a time when both a sense of social responsibility and loss of demand have led many restaurants to close their doors, we have chosen to stay open. Why? The short answer is our employees. While we have encouraged all of our staff to file for unemployment and quarantine, there are laws in place that prevent much of the restaurant industry’s work force from receiving government aid (google “immigrant wealth test.”). In addition to not all workers being eligible for unemployment benefits DESPITE being legal, tax-paying residents, they may not be included in any government relief package. We have done our best to inform everyone on our staff of the risks of coming to work and have given the choice of staying open to them. Some of them are diabetic, some are older, some are immunosuppressed, and some have small children- the exact type of people who should stay home, but for them this may not be an option. Closing our doors would be ideal if we could guarantee they would not seek work in a more dangerous environment, but this is unrealistic for many and instead would look more like abandonment than protection. If they must work somewhere in order to support themselves and their families, the best we can do is provide a safe, clean environment for them. Other available jobs at this time, though noble and necessary, could potentially put our people at significant risk of exposure. Furthermore, we are thinking of our guests at home. Some of your workloads have grown to cover those who have been laid off, some of you are still putting in work from home, some are now homeschool teachers and full time caregivers, and some are just bored and stressed out. Not everyone has the time to cook every meal. For those that have the time, you may not have the energy. If we can provide a break in routine, that’s an added bonus. If that order keeps one more person out of a crowded grocery store, even better.
At this time, both working and being unemployed have significant drawbacks and risks. We are paying attention to the research, and so far it seems that covid-19 is spread interpersonally, with unlikely risk of transmission through food and packaging. If that changes and food service becomes a contributing factor, we will close. When employees do not want to work, we will close. When our cleanliness and social distancing standards are not enough, we will close. If a stimulus package guarantees financial support for EVERYONE, we will close. For now, we are doing our best to keep both our working and laid off employees afloat and we will continue to support them as long as we are able. We are constantly researching options for them, and we welcome suggestions from you as well. We are a small business and are taking a loss every day. None of this is ideal, and I hope enough people rally behind Portland’s restaurants and ALL their employees to help us bounce back when this is over. We thank you for your understanding and support during this time of uncertainty.