Latino hotel, restaurant workers look to presidential candidates for stability

Posted at 11:51 AM, Oct 27, 2020

Lucy Hernandez says she struggles to wake up every morning. The Chicago fall weather makes battling her depression even harder. The sound of her alarm reminds her that she needs to get out of bed and help her daughter start her virtual learning class.

“I have been working in the company for 20 years," Hernandez said. “It's like one day you come to work, and they tell you, ‘We don’t have a job for you.’ It is stressful. I have been going through depression.”

A recent Pew Hispanic survey shows that U.S. Latinos are among the hardest hit by pay cuts and job losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hernandez says it could get worse for her family.

“My husband works at a hotel and his place is open, but who knows what is coming,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez says her layoff has changed her perspective about the presidential election and will vote for the person who she thinks will bring back jobs.

While hotel workers like Hernandez struggle to find a job, employees at Mi Tierra Restaurant work diligently to make sure every customer is pleased with their service. Prisila Fuentes manages the family business and knows that no restaurant is safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It’s been a struggle,” Fuentes said. “We have been getting back to what we were pre-COVID-19, but it’s a long way from what we had before.”

The Fuentes family made the tough decision and closed their doors in April to strategize.

More than half of their employees were laid off for a month, but they were later called back.

Fuentes says that her recent business struggles will be factors when voting for the next president. She has not committed to either candidate and hopes to get more clarity on their plans for the economy, an issue that for many Latinos is the bottom line in this election.