4 Women Whose Careers Have Changed Because Of Coronavirus

In the face of uncertainty and instability not seen by many in their lifetimes, the need to be merry about social distancing, working from home and the prospect of total lockdown in London is understandable. 
However, for millions of people who work in the industries most exposed to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the repercussions are already all too real. No amount of positive thinking can change that.
The government has advised us all to stay away from large gatherings, pubs, clubs, restaurants and bars, and across the globe, countries are closing borders and restricting travel. 
In the UK, there are 5 million people working in retail, 2.5m in hospitality and more than 1m in arts, recreation and entertainment. 
Around a quarter of the UK’s workforce is employed in these sectors, where demand has shrunk because of government announcements encouraging us to avoid social contact with one another. As a result, in Britain, millions of jobs are at risk in industries such as food and drink, entertainment and air travel. 
The government has announced some measures to help people. On Tuesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed an emergency rescue package of unlimited government guaranteed loans, business rates holidays and cash grants. 
But unlike other countries, there was no mention of increasing Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), which is currently a paltry £94.25 a week, or extending it to those who are self-employed or on zero-hour contracts. Since then, the secretary of state for housing has banned all evictions for three months but offered no specific relief for those who rent, as opposed to own, their home. 
Life, for all of us, has just changed and as Boris Johnson has explicitly said, it may not look anything like the same for quite some time. 
Four young women tell us how their work has been directly impacted and how they’re coping. 
Kristina Ralph-Andrews, 31, freelance makeup artist
Image Courtesy of Chris.
"In my work I’m quite used to sporadic working as some weeks are quiet and others are crazy busy so at first I wasn’t too concerned if I didn’t work for a bit, however now it’s more of a long-term worry for me. Everything is on hold. Will my industry pick back up and if so, when? We have no idea. As a makeup artist working within the fashion and advertising sector I literally can’t work from home. I have to be on set and I have to be touching people. 
"Also, as a freelancer if I don’t work then I don’t get paid, it’s that simple. It’s been really frustrating watching the government give really unclear advice and then lots of people putting out this message that working from home is great, we can all do it! No we can’t, it’s simply not possible for everyone and their job roles. And what support will freelancers exactly get? It’s really unclear. I’m quite pragmatic but I’m finding myself affected by the sensational news headlines and mixed data being sent around. I’m not so anxious for myself of catching coronavirus but I’m anxious for my elderly relatives and how this will affect all our futures." 
Yasmin Lajoie, 31, music manager and A&R consultant
Image Courtesy of Yasmine.
"The music industry has been really adversely affected by this crisis. Live shows have been cancelled. I manage songwriters and all their sessions have been cancelled. They're not in the studio, they're just working from home so they're not collaborating with anyone. 
"I look after a band who were supposed to be headlining Brixton Academy, which is tens of thousands of pounds just gone. Disappeared into thin air. The whole live show economy has just evaporated overnight. A lot of people were expecting a lot of money to be coming in and now it won’t be. 
"I was also working with someone involved in Eurovision and now that’s cancelled. It’s really hard to think ahead now. Glastonbury is cancelled too. It’s a lot to take in.
"I am completely self-employed but I consult for some bigger companies. The response has varied from company to company depending on the nature of their cash flow and how their business is structured. 
"But some of them are worried that they might not survive this. Some employers and clients have been able to say, 'We’re safe, you’ve always got a job. It’s going to be fine, we’ve got enough money to pay you' but at the same time, I’ve got other people saying, 'We might need to cut your pay next month because we don’t know where the money is going to come from'.
"It’s not just me, though. I work with a lot of artists, producers and songwriters who are not going to be okay. This is about other people’s livelihoods too.
"I struggle with my mental health anyway – I have BPD and ADHD. I’m on medication and I see a therapist so it’s not been great. I’ve been trying to forget about it to be honest. The social isolation hasn’t helped either. I am trying to stay at home because I don’t want to become a disease vector for other people but it’s tough. 
"I’m one of those people who has crazy dreams where you wake up and it takes about five minutes to realise it wasn’t real. I keep waking up and thinking, Woah that was mental, but then I realise it’s not a dream. It’s real. We are living through what feels like the end of days and it’s a lot to cope with."  
Missy Flynn, 32, owner and cofounder of London-based restaurant and deli Rita’s / Bodega Rita’s 
Image Courtesy of Missy.
"We’ve now gone takeaway-only on the government’s advice. It’s been difficult. We’ve had a weird back and forth with ourselves morally about when the right time to close is. Can we ask our staff to work?
"We are mentally prepared for our last day to come. If we have to close for a couple of weeks, we can handle it as we’re a fairly small operation but if it’s longer it will be very difficult. There is a risk.
"Following the degradation of 'low-skilled workers' that we heard from our politicians a few weeks ago before this all kicked off, it’s really hard to see so many people who take pride in hospitality and have made this work their livelihood face being out of work. If restaurants don’t reopen I think it will have an impact on a lot of people’s financial situations for a long time. I’m very worried to find out in time that a lot of our friends’ businesses won’t reopen unless something is done. 
"I know firsthand how difficult it is to close a business and lose a part of yourself. So I feel extremely sad and I feel angry because there isn’t enough information. Nobody can make calm or informed decisions because of that. I’m now in multiple WhatsApp groups where people are throwing around ideas about how to stay afloat. 
"We are looking at what funds we have available and what we can draw down if we need it. We’ve got a pre-authorised loan in our bank account. We’ve also called our insurance and discovered that while our cover extends to infectious diseases, COVID-19 isn’t covered because it’s a new disease! We’re going through a lot of ups and downs.
"Jobs have been lost this past week alone, across all sectors – front and back of house but also surrounding industries, PR, marketing etc. The business rates relief announced in the budget is very welcome and will be good for us as our rates are low anyway. Lots of people are making an effort to find alternative work and make new revenue streams through delivery and produce supply services. I think this will be a very, very hard time but I hope it’ll show everyone how much we rely on service workers in this country and to start treating them and their work as valuable and vital parts of keeping this country moving. Our hospitality industry is a massive tourist draw and economic driver, our restaurants are world class. We deserve more."
For information about how to order from Bodega Rita’s, check out its Instagram
Anonymous cabin crew member for a global airline, 34 
"I don’t want to be named because it’s not a good time to be speaking out. I am – like everyone else – nervous about losing my job. I don’t want to draw attention to myself.
"This has always been my dream job. I don’t want to do anything else, so it’s just a waiting game and a case of hoping for the best. So far many of our flights have been cancelled, my next one is likely to be my last for a long time.
"We haven’t received much news of what is going on but we are all expecting the worst, perhaps unpaid leave at best. We are all super nervous about it and our Facebook group is absolutely constant with new concerns all the time.
"Nobody has lost jobs yet but we are expecting to hear more in the coming days. These are sad times for everyone but especially for those who work in aviation. I know our bosses are in talks, they’re reducing the schedule. They say this is worse than 9/11 and they’ll tell us more when they can. 
"So many of us are on standby and in many of the destinations we are flying to, we are told not to leave the hotel once we get there.
"I don’t know what I’ll do if this is long-term. I get to travel the world and be paid for it. It’s an enjoyable job and I’m obsessed with flying. I will feel very lost if I lose my job."

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