NewsCoronavirus COVID-19 Economic Impact


Furloughed hotel workers coping as best they can

Workers not slated to be back until February
Posted at 11:35 PM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 23:35:36-04

INDIANAPOLIS — "This has been the worse summer of my life," said Lisa Wehrle.

Wehrle and Celesta Nichols were some of the first people to lose their jobs when the pandemic started in March. We first introduced you to the pair of sisters and their friend Betty Yosha the same day they were all let go from their jobs in a downtown Indy hotel. Six months later they never imagined they would still be without their jobs.

"I honest to God believed we'd be back to work. Things would be back to normal, whatever normal is now, and it's scary," Wehrle said.

Scary for their own health and for how they would pay the bills. Celesta is getting by with her Social Security, Lisa found a job working at an assisted-living facility. But the former lounge hostess and lead server say aside from money, the pandemic has taken away the jobs they loved.

"It's been frustrating. You know, I want so badly to get back to work. I miss our clients. I miss our guests," Nichols said.

As the calendar changes to October, the sisters have been told it will be at least another five months before they can return to work.

"It's up in the air. Until they open banquets we don't really have any reason to open up the restaurant," Nichols said.

Wherle says it hurts to think about the events they should be hosting this fall. "This is a month where I would get fat and it would carry me through the lean time," Wehrle said.

Even after losing their livelihoods, these sisters can still find something to smile about. They say what carries them through 2020 is staying productive in the present and having faith for the future.

"I'm not a big religious person but, I got a feeling there's something Jesus would have to say about that. I think we would say about the same thing. Have faith and get back to work," Wehrle said.