How Coronavirus Is Impacting the Restaurant Industry in America – Eater Atlanta

Restaurant News

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 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. 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 the United States and the U.K.:

In Seattle…

Major restaurateur Tom Douglass will close 12 of his 13 restaurants for at least two months, and he’s not alone. The geoduck industry is in turmoil without exports to China, Amazon is pledging $5 million to help small businesses, the governor is restricting events of more than 250 people in many of the local counties, and 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 cancelations are up 45 percent, four of Sunset Park’s biggest dim sum destinations closed, 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.

Meanwhile, 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…

On March 11, 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. Meanwhile three restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley 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.

A crowd of people gathered for The Grand Tasting event from last year’s New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, now canceled in New Orleans

The Grand Tasting event from last year’s New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, now canceled in New Orleans
NOWFE/Official Photo


  • In Vegas, MGM Resorts are closing their buffets, while Mandalay Bay is closing three of its restaurants.
  • At least one Michelin-starred restaurant is removing tables to make customers feel safe in San Francisco.
  • 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, D.C. postponed its Regional Beer Festival, Austin postponed Live Fire; London canceled its coffee festival, and St. Patrick’s Day parades are getting canceled across the U.S.
  • Here’s more on how restaurants are being impacted and how they’re preparing in Chicago, Detroit, Portland, London, Houston, Austin, and Las Vegas.

Read all stories about how the novel coronavirus is impacting the hospitality industry here.

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