While 97% of the US Population is still under some form of shelter in place order, restaurants are beginning to reopen in 62% of the USA. Two highly-populated states, Georgia and Texas, are allowing for patrons to dine inside at restaurants with a 25% capacity restriction. While restaurant owners nationwide take precautions and diligently strive to stay safe, significant risks remain. Risks that, despite our best efforts, could crush the restaurant industry. Here’s why:
1. Safety and Enforcement Is Next to Impossible: in most states, restaurants have to limit inside dining to 25% capacity. Clearing tables just got riskier: what if guests just won’t leave, so that capacity restrictions can be maintained? How does that work, exactly? How about in between courses, while waiting for drinks or appetizers: will patrons be asked or expected to keep their masks on? Does it seem like a stretch to expect that those who decide to frequent dining rooms during the coronavirus might be a little more demanding about their rights, freedoms and choices? Perhaps.
And who will police the hungry restaurant owners if they decide that if 25% capacity is good, 50% is better – and full capacity is really what’s best? Seems most owners are ready to abide by the restrictions – but what about those who don’t? Would owners be fined for over-capacity, or would the restaurant’s guests be the only ones who pay a frightening penalty?