Coronavirus pandemic devastates the restaurant industry

March 16, 2020

by Katy Kitsch

The coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) pandemic is having devastating effects on the restaurant industry worldwide, as more countries are now ordering that restaurants be shut down until further notice. France, Italy and China are among the countries that have had these widespread restaurant closures. And now, the United States will be affected by similar mandates which, for now, are being handled by individual cities.

New York City, the capital of the restaurant industry in North America, has ordered the closure of all restaurants and other dining establishments (such as bars, nightclubs and theaters) that do not have take-out or delivery services, as of March 17, 2020, until further notice. This mandate will hit luxury dining especially hard, since top-tier fine-dining restaurants do not do take-out or delivery for customers.

Catering is a separate service, since it’s for groups of people. However, since most places in the United States and other countries have now banned until further notice any gatherings of more than 50 people per gathering (for gatherings taking place in March 2020), any catering services offered by restaurants have also been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Most restaurants are small businesses that can’t afford to pay employees during the shutdown. Many of these restaurants won’t be able to survive because of the shutdown. The impact is wide-reaching and will be felt for a long time to come.

Several cuisine-related events are expected to be cancelled or postponed this year, if they were scheduled taking place over the next several months. Major food events in the U.S. that will be affected in 2020 include the James Beard Awards, The Los Angeles Times Food Bowl and Vegas Uncork’d, which are each usually held every May.

In addition, Restaurant Weeks in several U.S. cities have now been cancelled or postponed. They include:

Arizona Restaurant Week, which was scheduled for May 15 to May 24, 2020.

Buffalo, New York/ Western New York  Local Restaurant Week, which was scheduled for March 30 to April 5, 2020.

Cincinnati Downtown Restaurant Week, which was scheduled for April 2 to April 26, 2020.

Exeter, New Hampshire Restaurant Week(Eat Local), which was scheduled for March 19 to March 29, 2020.

Hamptons East End Restaurant Week (in New York state), which was scheduled for March 29 to April 5, 2020.

Hudson Valley, New York Restaurant Week, which was scheduled for March 16 to March 29, 2020.

Ocean City, Maryland Restaurant Week, which was scheduled for April 29 to May 3, 2020.

Palm Springs,  California Restaurant Week, which was scheduled for May 29 to June 7, 2020.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire Restaurant Week, which was scheduled for April 16 to April 25, 2020.

This article will be updated with breaking news that affects the restaurant industry.

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