The Pittsburgh Virtual Tip Jar — a new independent project hosted on Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Ethics and Policy website — is aiming to alleviate some of that financial stress.
"With the city (and now the state) ordering all non-essential businesses to shut down, many service industry workers are likely to find themselves without a steady income. The U.S. Small Business Administration, as well as some non-profits in the area, are working to help small business owners keep their businesses open, but as far as I’m aware, there’s nothing in place for their workers," says Danielle Wenner, assistant professor of philosophy at CMU, and the associate director of the Center for Ethics and Policy.
Allegheny County was one the first counties to be ordered to close their in-dining sections of their restaurants and bars, and many service workers had no place to collect tips as of today. Yesterday, Gov. Tom Wolf (D-York) ordered restaurants and bars in the county to close for at least 14 days, and today the rest of the state's restaurants and bars had to follow suit with at least a two-week closure.
There are now at least six confirmed cases of coronavirus in Allegheny County.
#Pittsburgh Virtual Tip Jar— Danielle M. Wenner (@DanielleWenner) March 16, 2020
Service industry worker? List your venmo/paypal so your customers can find you
Person who sometimes goes to bars, restaurants, or salons? Find your favorite server, stylist, bartender and send them a tip https://t.co/OwrjN6F8go
Wenner is hoping enough Pittsburghers will send tips to their favorite bartender, service, stylists, and other service workers that rely on tips for most of their wages,
"Hopefully, some of us with steady incomes who are staying home instead of going out to the bar on a Friday or getting our hair cut can (and will) use the money we would be spending to help these workers pay their bills,' says Wenner.
If you're a service worker struggling to make ends meet because of closures, postponements, or cancellations due to coronavirus, you can submit your information here, including where you work and relevant links to Venmo and PayPal pages where your regulars can send direct tips.
If you're looking to give financial support to these service workers, you can find a full list of here. The list will be updated continually.
A similar fundraiser was set up for Pittsburgh artists. Check out the Pittsburgh Artists Emergency Fund here.
Additionally, Pennsylvania's Office of Unemployment Compensation is now accepting applications for unemployment due to coronavirus.