Madison community introduces way to support service workers during the coronavirus

Venmo or Paypal workers through "virtual tip jar"
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"Oingo Boingo," made of lemon vodka, apricot vodka and strawberry Wisco Pop (Photo by Andrea Behling)

In Wisconsin, all restaurants and bars in the state were ordered to be closed to dine-in guests by Gov. Tony Evers Tuesday. While there are still some options regarding delivery and takeout available, many service workers are temporarily out of a job.

Food Fight Restaurant Group announced it had furloughed 750 staff members due to COVID-19-caused restaurant shutdowns.

With closures of restaurants, a virtual tip jar is circulating through the community, encouraging people to tip their waitstaff, bartenders and any other service worker.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were more than 800 service workers who have listed their place of business, Venmo usernames and Paypal URLs. Service industry workers are able to enter their information to be added to the list.

Philip Crawford first created the virtual tip jar based on something happening in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Since then, it’s been spreading across social media. If you’re looking for ways to help the community, consider joining the “Dane County Neighbors Helping Neighbors” Facebook group.

In addition to the virtual tip jar, there is a GoFundMe page for restaurant workers in Madison and Milwaukee. Any donation will go to service workers and funds will be distributed on a need-first basis. Workers can apply for aid through the GoFund Me page and then will be distributed to them via Venmo, PayPal or CashApp.