The coronavirus pandemic has taken a detrimental toll on the lives of individuals globally . In addition to the direct effect (e.g., being infected with the virus), this pandemic has negatively ravaged many industries, particularly food retail, food services, and hospitality . Given the novelty of the disease, the true impact of COVID-19 remains to be determined . Because of the nature of their work, and the characteristics of the workers, individuals in the food retail, food service, and hospitality industries are a group whose vulnerability is at its most fragile state during this pandemic . Through this qualitative study, we explored workers' perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on their mental health and coping, including screening for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorder symptoms . Twenty-seven individual interviews were conducted, audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using qualitative content analysis . Four key themes emerged: being infected and infecting others, the unknown, isolation, and work and customer demands . Considering the many uncertainties of COVID-19, workers in these three industries were experiencing heightened levels of mental distress because of where they worked and the already existing disparities they faced on a daily basis before the pandemic started . Yet they remained hopeful for a better future . More studies are needed to fully understand the magnitude, short-term, and long-term effects of COVID-19 . Based on this study's findings, programs are critically needed to promote positive coping behaviors among at-risk and distressed workers . Recommendations for employers, occupational health and safety professionals, and policy stakeholders to further support these service workers are discussed.