Social Distancing for Bars & Restaurants Explained

Traditionally, bars and restaurants have served as community gathering places during stressful times, but the need for social distancing has changed all that. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, bars, restaurants and their workers are being significantly impacted. They are having to change everything from the way they seat people to whether they provide take-out and delivery options in order to stay afloat as more people stay at home and avoid these venues.

Social Distancing Impact on Restaurants 

As more people are complying with the recommendation for social distancing in order to slow the spread of coronavirus, local businesses and restaurants are experiencing a sharp decline in customers. In fact, at many locations, the staff is out numbering the customers. “There were six of us on the floor yesterday and a lot of us made pretty much nothing,” shared Nani Bandalan, a server at the Flames restaurant in San Jose, California, said.

It doesn’t help that many of the diners seem to be skipping on the tip: “They’re dining and leaving, dining and leaving and just not dropping a tip,” said Bandalan. For workers who rely on steady business and tips to earn a living, the coronavirus is affecting their livelihood.

While the majority of diners (57%) claim that they won’t be making any changes to thier dining behaviors, reservations are being canceled, organized events and gatherings are being postponed and more people are preparing meals at home. In an industry with thin margins, even a couple days of slow business can be catastrophic. 

How Restaurants are Responding  

In states where restaurants and bars are still allowed to serve dine-in guests, workers are stepping up sanitizing efforts, creating more space between diners and trying to take advantage of outdoor and open-air spaces. Guests tend to feel reassured if they see workers washing their hands, wiping down tables and menus and going the extra mile to clean surfaces. Open windows and airy spaces also help diners feel more confident about their safety, so restaurants are trying to address all these areas.

Restaurants are also ramping up take-out and delivery efforts so that customers can have access to delicious food and support local businesses. Many restaurants are offering discounts to elderly customers, first responders, teachers and others who are also being financially affected by this crisis. Businesses are also encouraging people to show their support by purchasing gift cards that can be used once restrictions have been lifted. 

Everyone from large restaurant chains to local businesses are having to make adjustments. However, locally owned businesses will be the ones to feel the full force of the virus when it comes to their bottom line. That is why it is important for people to help heed safety recommendations while also trying to support restaurants by ordering online and purchasing gift certificates if possible.  

FAQs  

What does social distancing mean for social businesses like restaurants?

While the restaurant industry works to adadpt to social distancing as best they can, they are experiencing a steep decline in customers and workers are struggling to make money.

What are some examples of restaurants adjusting to social distancing?

Restaurants are increasing the distance between tables and diners, ramping up sanitizing efforts, taking advantage of patio spaces and offering more delivery and take-out options.

How is social distancing impacting bars and restaurants?

As more people stay home and prepare their own meals, bars and restaurants are having to decrease staff size and stagger shifts in order to stay open and allow some workers to make money.

How is social distancing due to COVID19 affecting businesses?

The effect on business varies by industry. While everyone is having to make adjustments, local businesses are feeling the biggest impact. Grocery stores in some areas are struggling to keep shelves stocked, but they will still receive plenty of business. Larger restaurant chains have more resources to adapt, so they won’t be impacted as much. Local businesses are feeling larger challenges as governments continue to enforce shutdowns, curfews, and the like.

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