Serving Up Help for Restaurant Workers

03/16/2020
NEWS BRIEFS
Four Corners Health Care Center testing staff and residents for COVID-19
Durango Transit routes will not operate on Memorial Day, May 25th. The Transit Center will be closed. Parking meters are FREE downtown May 23rd through May 25th, durangogov.org
Durango requires face covering in public spaces (businesses, public transit, and indoor and outdoor public places where people can not maintain 6 feet of social distancing), durangogov.org
Mesa Verde National Park will begin a phased re-opening on Sunday, May 24
Colorado released draft guidelines for restaurants that want to reopen to in-person dining. Share feedback colorado.gov/CovidConcerns
Streamlined Free Covid-19 testing at Horse Gulch offers onsite screening of symptomatic individuals, sjbpublichealth.org
as of 5 pm, May 21----- Southwest Colorado confirmed COVID-19 cases by county: La Plata (70), Archuleta (8), Montezuma (34), Dolores (0), San Juan (1). Deaths due to Covid: Montezuma (2), Deaths among cases: LaPlata (1), Montezuma (1), sjbpublichealth.org, montezumacounty.org
Colorado COVID-19 totals: 22,202 cases, 1,224 deaths among cases, 921 deaths due to COVID-19, 3,899 hospitalized, 129,159 tested, 228 outbreaks, colorado.gov

Waiting tables, turning out orders on demand in a hot kitchen, dealing with obnoxious customers can take its toll on hospitality workers. Here’s how one man hopes to help them cope in the weeds.

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WHAT STARTED OUT AS A SMALL SUPPORT GROUP TO HELP DURANGO RESTAURANT WORKERS DEAL WITH THE STRESSES OF THEIR JOBS HAS TURNED INTO A STATEWIDE MOVEMENT TO REDUCE DRUG- AND ALCOHOL ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES AMONG INDUSTRY WORKERS. YOU'RE WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. BLAINE BAILEY WORKED LONG, STRESSFUL HOURS AS A COOK IN DURANGO RESTAURANTS, AND LIKE MANY HOSPITALITY WORKERS, HE ENJOYED A FREE COCKTAIL AT THE END OF HIS SHIFT. BUT AS THE STRESSES AND THE PHYSICAL PAIN GREW FROM LONG SHIFTS ON HIS FEET, HE FOUND THAT THE DRINKING WAS BECOMING MORE AND MORE OF A CRUTCH . . . AND A PROBLEM . . . IN HIS EVERYDAY LIFE. HE ALSO KNEW FROM HIS PEERS THAT HE WASN'T THE ONLY ONE COPING WITH THE PRESSURES OF THE INDUSTRY.
IT'S A HIGH-STRESS ENVIRONMENT. EVERY DAY CHANGES, YOU KNOW, IT'S A HIGH-TURNOVER-RATE INDUSTRY. YOU'RE CONSTANTLY TRAINING, DEALING WITH THAT. AND THEN YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THE RUSH IS GOING TO HIT. DINNER RUSH, LUNCH RUSH, YOU KNOW, YOU COULD, IT COULD BE AN EMPTY RESTAURANT AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU'VE GOT 50 PEOPLE COMING IN. SO YOU GOTTA BE ABLE TO CHANGE WHAT YOU'RE DOING IMMEDIATELY AND, KINDA CHANGE HOW, HOW YOU, OPERATE CONSTANTLY. YOU'RE ALWAYS ON YOUR TOES. YOU'RE AROUND HOT OVENS, KNIVES, WHATNOT, AND THE FRONT OF HOUSE. YOU'RE ALWAYS HAVING TO PUT ON THE FACE AND BE PRETTY AND, AND, BE HAPPY, YOU KNOW, PUT ON THAT SMILE NO MATTER WHAT YOU'RE GOING THROUGH, YOU KNOW? AND THAT'S THE CHALLENGE IS EVERY DAY KINDA GOTTA FORGET WHAT'S GOING ON IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE. AND TO PUT ON THIS FACADE FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE RESTAURANT. AND, AND IT'S, IT'S QUITE THE SKILL TO HAVE, BUT IT'S EXHAUSTING. IN FEBRUARY 2019, HE AND FRIEND JOHN ROWE, A LICENSED SOCIAL WORKER, ALONG WITH ROWAN BLAISEDELL, A FORMER CHEF TURNED CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, DECIDED TO START IN THE WEEDS, A SUPPORT GROUP FOR RESTAURANT WORKERS, TO HELP THEM COPE WITH THE STRESSES OF THE JOB AND TO CHOOSE HEALTHIER LIFESTYLES. A NEWS STORY ABOUT THE GROUP IN THE DURANGO HERALD EVENTUALLY WAS PICKED UP BY NEWSPAPERS ELSEWHERE IN THE STATE, AND BEFORE HE KNEW IT, BAILEY WAS FIELDING CALLS FROM HOSPITALITY WORKERS WHO WANTED TO START SIMILAR GROUPS IN DENVER, COLORADO SPRINGS, ASPEN AND GRAND JUNCTION. BAILEY AND HIS PARTNERS NOW ARE STARTING A NON-PROFIT TO HELP RESTAURANT WORKERS START IN THE WEEDS SUPPORT GROUPS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES.
THE HOSPITALITY AND RESTAURANT INDUSTRY IS, IT'S IN THE TOP FIVE FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN THE NATION. IT'S, IT'S ABOVE LIKE TH ROCKSTAR INDUSTRY, THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY. AND IT'S EASE OF ACCESS, YOU KNOW, AND IT'S, IT'S ACCEPTED, YOU KNOW, IF YOU CAN STILL WORK YOUR SHIFT HIGH OR DRUNK OR WHATEVER, IT'S OKAY CAUSE WE NEED TO GET THIS FOOD OUT, YOU KNOW. AND THAT INCREASES THE DANGER AND, AND THERE IS A BIG SHIFT, YOU KNOW, THERE IS A BIG SHIFT IN THE MENTALITY IN THE INDUSTRY. SINCE ANTHONY BORDAIN PASSED AWAY, A LOT OF CHEFS, A LOT OF RESTAURANTEURS ARE COMING OUT AND TALKING ABOUT IT AND WHICH IS AN AMAZING THING AND ALLOWING FOR US TO BE ABLE TO TALK ABOUT IT HERE IN OUR, IN OUR TOWN AS WELL.BAILEY STILL WORKS IN THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY AS A SOUS CHEF WITH EL MORO, BUT HE SAYS THE GROUP OFFERS HIM AN EFFECTIVE WAY TO COPE WITH THE CHALLENGES OF WORKING IN A SUCCESSFUL AND BUSY RESTAURANT. IN THE WEEDS OFFERS MEETINGS ON THE FIRST AND THIRD MONDAYS OF THE MONTH IN THE ROCHESTER HOTEL'S R SPACE.  ATTENDANCE IS FREE, BUT DONATIONS ARE ACCEPTED TO COVER COSTS. BAILEY SAID THE THE NAME OF THE GROUP REFLECTS THE STRESSES OF THE JOB.
SO, IT'S A COMMON PHRASE WITHIN THE INDUSTRY. DURING THOSE DINNER RUSHES OR, LUNCH RUSHES, WHATEVER, WHATEVER RUSH YOU'RE GOING THROUGH, IN THE WEEDS IS KIND OF BEING BURIED, YOU KNOW, AND YOU GOTTA GET HELP TO GET OUT OF THE WEEDS. SO, HEY MAN, I'M IN THE WEEDS RIGHT NOW. LIKE I GET SOME HELP. AND SO THAT'S WHERE, YOU KNOW, YOUR SUPPORT TEAM COMES IN AND HELPS YOU GET OUT. SO THAT'S WHAT WE'RE KIND OF TALKING ABOUT. LIKE, YOU KNOW WHAT? A LOT OF US MIGHT BE IN THE WEEDS JUST UP HERE IN OUR HEADS, AND HOW DO WE GET OUT? YOU KNOW, LET'S, LET'S, IT'S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP TO GET OUT. IF YOU'D LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT IN THE WEEDS, VISIT IN THE WEEDS DOT AGENCY. THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS EDITION OF LOCAL NEWS NETWORK. IF YOU'D LIKE TO SEE THIS STORY AGAIN, VISIT OUR WEBSITE WHERE YOU CAN SIGN UP TO HAVE US DELIVER YOUR NEWS DIRECTLY INTO YOUR INBOX. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE FOR THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK.

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