Coronavirus closing down businesses

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has left restaurant industry starving

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photo by David Crane

Owners put our signs on their restaurants for incoming customers to follow in order to be safe. (Photo by David Crane)

Mila Dell Apa, Staff Reporter

With many gatherings happening as the holiday season approaches, COVID-19 cases are currently on the rise. As a result, in order to keep employees and customers safe, many restaurants have decided to start closing down.

Now, six months after the first shutdown, a total of 100,000 establishments nationwide have closed permanently or for a long term (once the pandemic has become safer). Additionally, Business Insider  website shows that nearly around eight million restaurant employees are unable to return back to work since their job has closed. For restaurants who are still currently open, managers have trained their employees on how to be in a safe environment during work and all of their new safety protocols and rules.

Owners put our signs on their restaurants for incoming customers to follow in order to be safe. (Photo by David Crane, Angeles Daily News)

Restaurant Over Easy owner, Nick Bartholomew delayed reopening his breakfast and lunch restaurant so he could train employees on new procedures for the coronavirus era. He has trained them on their new cleaning protocols and how to keep themselves, other employees and their incoming customers safe, while still having a positive environment.

“I have thought of rethinking the no reservations policy to better assess how many people will be there at a given time,” Bartholomew said. “So we can control the madness and keep everyone safe.” 

For businesses that are still open, many have decided to increase their use of doing take outs or colliding more with online delivery apps. For example, restaurants such as Blatt Beer and Table at Shops of Legacy have had thoughts of closing down in the past due to the increase of COVID. At the beginning of November, multiple employee’s caught COVID due to Halloween weekend activities. Therefore, since there wasn’t enough staff to help keep the restaurant running, talk of shutting down was an option. But, Blatt decided to stay open, improve their protocols throughout the restaurant, and increase their use of takeout. Because of this, they were able to stay open. 

“On November 11, we decided to start removing tables and distancing people as much as we possibly can,” manager of Blatt Beer and Table at Shops of Legacy, Tucker Beglin said. “I would never hope nor want our restaurant to shut down because it’s an area where people gather together to have a good meal and chat, but it’s always a possibility that may happen.”

Restaurants throughout the Omaha area spent the past few weeks making the tough decision about their immediate futures. Some are closed, some remain completely open. Some like Lo Sole Mio, decided to reopen with carryout only and will maintain the takeout status quo for now. Omaha restaurants with large dining rooms are among several eateries in the area that didn’t open their dining rooms after the first shutdown was over. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, current rules allow restaurants to operate at 50% capacity with being at least six feet apart from everyone, but Lo Sole Mio operators didn’t want to risk the safety of their workers and customers. 

“A message on the restaurant’s voicemail announced to co workers that we will not be serving people inside,” Lo Sole Mio chef Dino Losole said. “Until the virus restrictions permit better guidelines and the environment becomes more safe for everyone.”

As restaurants and bars resume and continue operations in areas of the United States, CDC offers following considerations for ways in which operators can reduce risk for employees, customers and communities to slow the spread of COVID-19. Restaurants and bars can determine, in collaboration with state, local, territorial, or tribal health officials, on how to adjust to meet the needs and circumstances of the local community. 

Take in consideration of those who you are around. In order to reduce the number of COVID cases in our area, stay home when appropriate, wear masks, do frequent hand washing and social distance as much as possible.

2020 has multiple ups and downs throughout the year. With all the tragic events that have taken place over the months, having our current pandemic has made it increasingly harder for everyone. As citizens, we can help prevent the spreading of COVID-19.