Twelve states have stopped their former plans to re-open businesses amid continued growth and record setting numbers for coronavirus infections. Florida and Texas have shut down bars, and Texas also reduced capacity at restaurants from 75 percent to 50 percent. California ordered bars to shut down in seven of its counties, including Los Angeles county.
As CNN reported over the weekend, states halting their re-opening plans include Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico and North Carolina. Washington state also announced over the weekend that it is not moving into phase four of its re-opening.
Coronavirus cases continue pretty much unabated across the U.S., with a record 44,726 new cases reported last Friday.
The restaurant industry has been decimated by the pandemic As my colleague, Jenn Marston wrote last week:
As of June 15, roughly 140,000 businesses were listed on Yelp as closed. While retail got hit the hardest, restaurants came in at a close second, with 23,981 businesses closed. And here’s the kicker: more than half — 53 percent — of those restaurants currently closed won’t reopen, according to Yelp.
For most restaurants across the country, re-opening dining rooms meant fewer tables spaced further apart, as well as a host of other guidelines such as disposable menus and servers wearing face masks, all meant to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
And there’s some indication those measures were working in bringing people back. While restaurant sales were down year-over-year, NPD data showed that they sales were growing, even as cases of COVID spiked. From a recent NPD press release announcing the firm’s latest findings:
For the week ending June 14 total major restaurant chain transactions are down -12% versus the same week a year ago, which is -1% below the previous week but the ninth consecutive improvement year-over-year, reports NPD. Quick service restaurants still managed to improve slightly to -11% versus year ago compared to -13% the previous week. As dining rooms reopen, full service restaurant chains continue to have the strongest improvement in customer transaction declines, having a week-over-week gain of 12% in week ending June 14, moving up +6 points on a year-over-year basis to -26% versus year ago.
It’s too soon to say how high the number of COVID-19 cases will reach over the next few weeks or how many more restaurants and bars will have to close again as a response. Offering takeout, drive-thru, curbside pickup, and other off-premises channels was a small lifeline to businesses during nationwide shelter-in-place mandates. Restaurants large and small are being encouraged to continue keeping their focus on these areas, in the hopes that off-premises will help them keep the lights on if dining rooms are once more forced to close.