Of all the industries threatened by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, few have felt the impact as deeply and immediately as the hospitality industry. From the cancellation of major events like SXSW in Austin and Coachella in Southern California to the decreased business and closures in Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, and beyond as diners hunker down at home, the impact is far-reaching and significant, particularly as guidance surrounding public events and social distancing continues to change by the minute. Compounding the issue is the precarious nature of the business (thin margins) and lack of security (benefits, paid leave) for a majority of industry workers.
What follows is an ever-updated chronicle of how the outbreak is affecting the industry across cities in the United States and the U.K.:
At least 40 restaurants have closed permanently or temporarily, including 12 of chef Tom Douglas’s 13 restaurants. The geoduck industry is in turmoil without exports to China, Amazon is pledging $5 million to help small businesses, and the governor is restricting events of more than 250 people in many of the local counties. High-end restaurants like chef Edouardo Jordan’s JuneBaby and Salare are pivoting to delivery; fine dining icon Canlis is now a fast-casual drive-thru restaurant.
Read all stories about how the novel coronavirus is affecting Seattle restaurants here.
In New York...
Reservations are down 30 percent and cancellations are up 45 percent. Dozens upon dozens of restaurants have temporarily closed — including fine dining temples Le Bernardin and Daniel, neighborhood spots Cervo’s and The Fly, and all of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group and Dave Chang’s Momofuku restaurants. At least one restaurant is starting to take the temperature of diners before admitting entry, and major restaurateurs like Tom Colicchio and Ravi DeRossi are comparing the impact to that of some of the country’s biggest natural disasters. Meanwhile, the mayor is still telling the healthy they can go out to eat, but that restaurants need to lower their capacity by 50 percent. Added to that is a state mandate banning group gatherings over 500 people, prompting countless canceled food events.
Jersey City bars and restaurants are being asked to take down contact info of customers in order to track them later if need be.
Read all stories about how the novel coronavirus is affecting NY restaurants here.
In Los Angeles...
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health suggested that the most vulnerable — including those who are pregnant, elderly, or have underlying health issues — should stay home and avoid public spaces entirely. Also recommended: Avoiding events with more than 250 attendees, leaving restaurants with large dining rooms such as Sugar Factory and Republique wondering what steps to take. Mayor Eric Garcetti suggested getting takeout over dining in. Meanwhile, dozens of restaurants are temporarily closed, while others check body temperatures of diners. Disneyland is closed until late April.
Read all stories about how the novel coronavirus is affecting LA restaurants here.
MGM Resorts is closing 150 food and beverage outlets across its Vegas empire. Wynn closed its buffets, theaters, and nightclubs. An employee at a dayclub Wet Republic Ultra Pool tested positive for novel coronavirus, as did an employee at Luxor. And generally, tourism is predicted to continue on a downward trajectory.
Read all stories about how the novel coronavirus is affecting Las Vegas restaurants here.
- At least one Michelin-starred restaurant is removing tables to make customers feel safe in San Francisco.
- Nightclubs in Montreal are capping their capacity and debating whether to remain open entirely.
- Doormen, glove-wearing waiters, and bathroom attendants at D.C.-area restaurants are all taking steps to alleviate customer concerns.
- Grubhub will waive marketing fees for independent restaurants in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Portland, and Seattle.
- London’s famous Black Axe Mangal is now takeout only.
- A Waffle House in Atlanta closed after an employee tested positive for coronavirus.
- Austin restaurants are scrambling to recover lost revenue from SXSW.
- Heirloom bean purveyor Rancho Gordo has seen sales quadruple due to stockpiling.
- It took the outbreak for Detroit’s water and sewage department to turn many residents’ water back on.
- Delivery companies are figuring out “no-contact” delivery solutions.
- Houston canceled its Livestock Show and Rodeo; the James Beard Foundation postponed its New York and Chicago awards; New Orleans canceled its New Orleans Wine and Food Experience and Hogs for the Cause (among other events); D.C. postponed its Regional Beer Festival; Austin postponed Live Fire; London canceled its coffee festival; and St. Patrick’s Day parades and bar crawls are getting canceled across the U.S. (many Irish bars are concerned about the drop in business, though some Dallas restaurants are more optimistic).
- Distilleries in Durham and Portland are making sanitizer out of their high-proof liquor. Sanitation efforts are a major aspect of response everywhere from Austin to Atlanta.
- Here’s more on how restaurants are being impacted and how they’re preparing in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Portland, London, Houston, San Francisco, Montreal, and Austin.
Read all stories about how the novel coronavirus is impacting the hospitality industry here.