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"I find it such a pity that I can’t put some money aside"

"I find it such a pity that I can’t put some money aside"

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Archive Cyriel Huntjens

(No)(Wo)man at work

(Wo)man at work. That was the name of a series about students and the jobs they do, published last academic year. How are they doing during the corona crisis? Can they do anything for their employers or have they been sent home? Aside from the students in the series, we will also hear from others. This time: Cyriel Huntjens, master’s student of Forensics, Criminology and Law. His work at Centre Ville is on hold for the moment.

Splendid spring weather, full side-walk cafes. At least, that is what it would have looked like for many pub and restaurant owners, were it not for the corona outbreak. At the moment, catering places are looking a little desolate. They were compelled to close down by law from 15 March. So, also Grand Café Centre Ville where Cyriel Huntjens (25) works as a waiter. “My hours differ each week, but in general I am missing out on ten to fifteen hours a week.”

Huntjens lives in a room in Maastricht; having a job alongside his study is quite normal for him. “I have always worked.” For the last five years at Centre Ville, behind Mosae Forum, with a view of the Maas. “I earn a good amount and put it aside, I find it such a pity that I can’t do that now. As yet, I don’t foresee any financial problems, I’m not worried about paying my recurring expenses and shopping. I still have a right to the student loan.” Looking ahead: that student loan stops next year, says Huntjens, so he hopes to get his diploma and doesn’t have to delve into his savings.

He doesn’t (yet) borrow the maximum amount from the Education Executive Agency (DUO, Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs). “I did think about raising the amount recently, but I will wait. Let’s see if catering facilities have to remain closed after 28 April.”
Another ruling that he is anxiously waiting to hear about, is the Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment, (Noodmaatregel Overbrugging Werkgelegenheid, NOW). The government has announced that it will take over up to 90 per cent of the salaries paid by employers if they can prove that they have missed out on income. If Huntjens were to receive this compensation, it would help him out some. If not, “I will go and borrow the maximum amount”.

What will happen to his travel plans to Curaçao in September, is not clear. Not only because it is uncertain whether everything will be back to ‘normal’ by then, but also because he will have less to spend than he had planned. “The two weeks in Curaçao have already been arranged, but I was going to add another two weeks to that somewhere else.” He had wanted to “work really hard” at Centre Ville during the summer.
By the way, the extra money from his job is not just for a holiday or ‘later’. Huntjens also uses it to do “fun things” with his friends. “With this beautiful weather, I would be on a side-walk cafe at least three times a week. It is a blessing in disguise that this is not possible at the moment.”

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