Another day, another grim piece of news for the restaurant biz. Over the weekend, San Francisco announced it will pause its reopening plan for indoor restaurant dining. The decision follows moves from a growing list of cities around the U.S. as cases of COVID-19 continue to break records.
SF restaurants were set to increase dine-in capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent on Nov. 3. Mayor London Breed said the pause, which also affects movie theaters, places of worship, and other public spaces, is a precautionary measure, even though the COVID-19 infection rate in San Francisco is currently low. “We’re still in the middle of a pandemic,” she said. “We are tired of COVID-19 but COVID-19 is not tired of us.”
In the U.S., the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases is the highest the country has seen. Around the world, countries are imposing new lockdowns that will affect indoor dining. And in addition to San Francisco, multiple cities in the U.S. are also restricting restaurant dining rooms.
As of last Friday, Chicago banned indoor dining in response to rising COVID-19 cases (outdoor dining is still allowed). NYC has shut down dining rooms in certain neighborhoods, and in Los Angeles county, only outdoor seating is allowed.
The closures won’t stop with major cities. Communities across Massachusetts are already reversing reopening plans, as are New Mexico, Idaho, and Colorado. A large number of states remain reopened, but given the rise in COVID-19 numbers, not to mention the lockdowns happening in other parts of the world, that’s not likely to stay the case for long.