Waffle House makes a shocking announcement about its restaurants

There's one joke all native Georgians share, and it is that you know things are bad when the state's beloved Waffle House restaurants close. And if that sounds like a stretch, there's even something called the "Waffle House Index" that the Federal Emergency Management Agency uses to gauge the severity of storms and other disasters or emergencies (via NBC). Waffle House prides itself on staying open 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and 365 days per year. Even when weather conditions reach the point of needing to rent generators and pare down the menu, Waffle House is open.

All of that said, it should really emphasize the severity of the COVID-19 situation now that Waffle House has announced a "Waffle House Index Red," which is the most severe on the three-color scale. Red signifies the selected restaurants are completely closed while yellow simply indicates those locations are serving a limited menu. Obviously, green means the location is up and running under normal conditions.

Waffle House closes over 300 locations

On March 24, the popular chain announced that 365 of its nearly 2,000 locations are now closed. The chain has had at least one encounter with an employee sick with COVID-19, which happened in Canton, Georgia on March 1 (via CBS), but the company hasn't said exactly why the closures are taking place — it's possible, though, that it could be due to local ordinances or statewide laws due to the coronavirus.

According to a photo Waffle House posted on its Facebook page, most of the 365 locations that have been closed are primarily concentrated toward the north, though there are closures spread out throughout the north and south. Locations in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, the Carolinas, as far west as Missouri and as far north as New York have seen closures. At the moment, there are still 1,627 locations that are still open and operating. 

Emergency preparedness is a major part of Waffle House culture, and the chain has even been praised for its emergency response system (via AJC). So call before you set off to grab some Waffle House to-go. The location just might be closed for the time being.