Restaurant Closures amid the Pandemic
Tinsae Shifreaw, Staff Writer
When the pandemic took effect here in the United States, many had questions on how long COVID-19 will affect the country. When cases started to rise, the U.S. had to be on lockdown, for what should have been just a few weeks, but led to many months. Many businesses, during the pandemic have closed down, whether temporarily or permanently. Restaurants were one of the most affected businesses during this time, many having to shut down permanently due to the pandemic. Though takeout and delivery were an option for most, it was simply not enough for them to stay afloat during the tough times. Many establishments are asking for government aid or they are negotiating with landlords to stay in their buildings of business.
Restaurants, however, are re-opening into indoor dining after a month of outdoor dining. King County was approved into phase two on January 28, which allows more freedom with re-openings and capacity within the buildings. However, many were still shut down permanently. Many known restaurants like Tilth’s and Randy’s were shut down. 2,500 restaurants in Washington state permanently closed within the first six months of the pandemic. With that number, however, the restaurants closed could be a higher number than reported. When looking into the data gathered by Business Insider, “The majority of restaurants that closed were not brand-new businesses, the association found: on average, they’d been in business for 16 years.” Seventeen percent of U.S. restaurants closed down within the last three months. Restaurant owners know they might have to sacrifice their passion and business due to the pandemic. When restaurants shut down temporarily, the main business would shut down, only paying for the rent of the building, and waiting until it is safe to continue with the business. This means the business is in a stasis of sorts, not working until safe. For the workers who worked in the restaurants shut down, they do not get to work for that time being off the stasis. The stasis helps keep the business open by the owners saving the money that is used for operations, letting the cost stay the same and lose less money. Despite the restaurant shutdowns, many restaurants are beginning the process of opening up, giving hope of better times during the pandemic. These statistics were shown to Congress in order for more aid to come through for the many restaurants still open. Many of the new restaurants were mainly planned before the pandemic but there were those who started the restaurants in order to encourage the cities they reside in, sending a message that says, “we got this!”