Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s topic: how the coronavirus will affect restaurants this fall/winter.
As COVID-19 surges on through the summer, experts on the virus are anticipating what the fall and winter of 2020 could look like based on how the virus interacts with colder weather. According to the CNN, the main points to consider are:
- Some health conditions such as asthma, stroke, and heart attack worsen in the winter months.
- While the flu is prevalent all year, flu season (December-February) will cause higher patient loads in hospitals.
- Due to the cold weather permeating most of the U.S., people will be spending more time inside –– which means less ventilated spaces.
- Cold symptoms will be hard to differentiate from coronavirus symptoms.
For these reasons, many anticipate an uptick in cases as the weather drops. When restaurants began opening several weeks ago, one contingency they hung on was that it was safer to serve guests on an outdoor patio as opposed to indoors, where COVID can be spread more easily. While most states have opened indoor dining in some capacity, places like California and New York are still restricted to outdoor dining. With this considered, what can restaurants expect from the second half of 2020?
Possible ‘rolling shutdowns’
This term was coined to describe re-instituting various restrictions that were once lifted, which several states are going through now. If we see a huge increase in new cases throughout fall and winter, it’s possible that bars and restaurants will be placed on another lockdown, forcing them to shut their doors and/or lay off staff.
Continued need for PPE
Because of the prominence of flu season during the winter months, more people may be experiencing symptoms similar to COVID like cough, fever, or sore throat. In order to maintain the health and safety of your guests and staff, it’s important to continue enforcing PPE requirements, especially since “64% of diners say staff wearing PPE is most important when eating out” according to a recent survey by RestaurantDive.
Increased dining restrictions
During the colder months, dining will be limited to indoors for most of the U.S. Depending on your business, this could lead to closing completely, or just reducing the number of people able to eat at your establishment.
Unfortunately, the uncertainty we’re facing due to the coronavirus is not over –– but by staying up to date on information, maintaining safety requirements, and doing our best to prepare for the future, restaurants will hopefully continue to operate and provide some comfort during an uncomfortable time.