At the start of March, Stephanie Tarnowsky was fresh off her honeymoon and just starting her dream job as a chef at a buzzy restaurant set to open in the nation's capital.
Today, Tarnowsky, who has worked in the restaurant industry for more than a decade, is unemployed and quarantined at home in Washington, D.C., unable to find a job in an industry that has quickly been diminished and an economy that has stalled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Her story is just one story of the as many as seven million restaurant workers who are expected to be laid off in this pandemic and who are unsure if their industry will ever fully return.
Here is Tarnowsky's account, in her own words, of her "new normal" in the era of coronavirus.
The day everything changed
Tarnowsky accepted a job at a new restaurant last year, but the restaurant opening was delayed for several months, then the coronavirus happened. Washington, D.C.'s mayor ordered all restaurants and bars in the city closed for on-site service beginning on March 16.
"I took a new job and then got married and went on a honeymoon. I expected to start work about a month later.
"When it became more clear that [the restaurant opening] was getting more and more delayed, I made a tough choice that because this was going to be such a good career opportunity for me, that [my husband Nick and I] would make it work. We thought maybe we would rack up some credit card debt with the expectation that my new job was going to pay off.
"I finally started work and about one week later they laid off about six managers and another 15 to 20 staff members."
Tarnowsky was among those laid off, becoming one of the more than 20 million people who have already applied for unemployment insurance. Her husband was also laid off from his restaurant job.
Asking for unemployment help
"I was going to be making about $54,000. Unemployment caps at about $435 per week. It's stressful.
"The website [to apply for unemployment] was crashing a lot and wait times for calls are like four hours or possibly more. You want to be mad ... and you wish that they were better prepared, but who could be that well-prepared for this kind of massive unemployment?
"[The] $1,200 per person [from the federal stimulus package] isn't that much to keep people going for more than a short amount of time if you don't have a safety net."
Bargaining for help without a safety net
"Because my job situation has been off the past few months we'd been pretty frugal with money, but we were expecting me to start bringing in a bigger paycheck every month.
"We were finally thinking that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Obviously we've had to put all of that on hold.
"I've reached out to a few credit card companies to ask if I can defer my payments. I've reached out to our electric company, all of these things that we were expecting to be finally able to pay off we're now going back to square one.
"I can't help but feel frustrated with myself because when I was working at my previous job I was making about the same amount I would have at [the new restaurant]. I didn't have a huge savings, but we had money saved and because for the past few months I wasn't steadily working, that little bit of a safety net we had was gone."
Working through emotions of fear, regret
"I go through varying days where one day I'm depressed and not feeling like getting dressed and the next day is better. It's crazy how much it varies day to day.
"I know that being negative is not the best solution. I know you can't be too hard on yourself and I'm trying hard not to be. If I'm having a day where I'm feeling bad I embrace it.
"The days I try to get up and keep my routine the best I can are definitely the best."
Trying to not get sick while trying to make money
"We've both been looking at temp jobs, but a lot of the jobs I find were posted weeks ago and now no one is in the office. Both of us are trying to keep away from having to take public transportation, which makes it harder to find something."
"I'm picking up some shifts at a local market that's doing curbside grocery pick up in an effort to minimize people having to come in. It's a good way to pass time, make a little money, but it's scary to have to be around people so much.
"It really is a reminder of how often wage workers and low-income folks are put in tough positions or even more dangerous ones to try and keep themselves and their families afloat. I really hope I don't get sick, I literally can't afford it."
How quickly life can change
"Our day-to-day lives and what's normal is really fleeting and can change really quickly. That's scary and I'm scared.
“I don't know where the restaurant industry will go at this point.
"The main thing I really think about is our security is bleeding -- job security, financial security -- for a lot of people in this country, in this world, in each community. I really, really hope people come out of this with an idea of how important protecting all Americans is."
"There are a lot of people out there who make our society function and it's really important to remember them in a time like this. Be appreciative for the people who are bagging your groceries and staffing hospitals and putting themselves at risk."
Starting a side hustle to make ends meet
"I started posting cooking videos on Instagram. It's not some fancy filming operation, just my husband filming on my iPhone.
"I love cooking and even if I'm getting $25 or $50 a day in donations that's awesome and generous.
"It's fun and it's a way for me to stay focused and disciplined."
'Finding the positive' amid a pandemic
"There are people who I haven't talked to in a long time who are coming out of the woodwork and being supportive, sharing my videos, giving me some money to help pay for food for them.
"One couple, friends who still have jobs, dropped off groceries at our doorstep to help give us food. It's super generous.
"A time like this presents an opportunity to make some positive changes and get creative. It's a mix. There are so many things that are really scary about this and there are things that I find the positive in."