Bars and Restaurants React to COVID-19 Closures

Bars and restaurants all over the country are having to make quick adjustments while circumstances and protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to develop. In some cases, individual owners are having to make hard decisions while in other parts of the country there have been mandatory closures for all dine-in options. This unprecedented event is eliciting different reactions from bars and restaurants and their patrons.

To provide some context to the scale of this problem, Paul Barron, CEO of Foodlable Labs, a company that collects data on the restaurant and hospitality industries is predicting that: “28,000 restaurants across the U.S. will close by March 30 because of the epidemic. If the coronavirus outbreak is not contained, that number will grow to 56,200 by April 20 and 80,000 by May 25.” 

For states like Florida, where the economy relies heavily on the tourism industry and 12% of the employed population works in restaurants, the repercussions of these closures are going to be significant.

How Bars and Restaurants are Preparing for More Closures

In Illinois, bars and restaurants have already been banned from serving in-house diners and are limited to serving take-out and delivery meals. This is a big hit to locally-owned establishments, especially since most of these places don’t already have a delivery infrastructure in place. They are having to implement ordering and payment options so that they can continue to serve food.

Many bars and restaurants are also shortening their hours of operation and switching their services to provide grocery and alcohol delivery. This is a great way to encourage social distancing while still providing essential goods and services and bringing in income. 

Bars and restaurants in states where there isn’t a mandatory closure in place should learn from other businesses who have already had to deal with these circumstances and be proactive about setting up delivery services. There is a good chance that these restrictions will become a reality in the near future, so it is best to start planning now.

What Changes are Bars and Restaurants Making to Survive?

Many bars and restaurants are coming up with creative ways to take care of their employees and make sure that they have enough groceries. The owners of the Edge, a large entertainment complex in Bellville, Illinois, is donating $20,000 worth of perishable food to their employees. Other businesses are also taking up grocery collections and offering to trade goods for groceries.

Of course, the biggest change is making the way for take-out and delivery. This will be an essential adjustment that will help local businesses keep earning and allow community members with easy access to food. Restaurant owners are joining forces to find solutions and calling on community members and leaders to provide support and commit to helping small businesses survive.

While this is a difficult situation for everyone involved, the majority of bar and restaurant owners recognize that restrictions and even closures are a necessary step towards protecting public health. Rebounding from this crisis will require that loyal and new customers alike use their own resources to make sure that small businesses can continue to operate.


How are bars and restaurants bracing for closure impacts? 

Some bars and restaurants are switching to curbside pick-up and delivery options. Others are changing their entire model and offering grocery and alcohol delivery. They are also cutting hours, limiting staff and calling on the government to provide assistance to workers who rely mostly on tips for their income.

How do bars and restaurants plan to deal with COVID-19 closures? 

Many will try to remain open for curbside pick-up and delivery. For some, this means getting ordering and payment methods in place quickly.

How is COVID-19 affecting the hospitality industry?

If the current trend continues, experts predict there could be 28,000 restaurants closed by March 30th. Bars and restaurants are having to close their doors and employees are seeking out unemployment and other forms of assistance. 

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