Here's How Many Restaurants Might Not Reopen After The Pandemic

Due to social distancing regulations put in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19, restaurants have had to limit their operations significantly, according to a survey completed by the restaurant reservation company OpenTable. The platform compiled data from the nearly 60,000 restaurants they serve globally and have drawn some disconcerting conclusions. 

Eat This, Not That! notes that, if the data released by OpenTable is correct, one in four of all restaurants that have had to close because of these rules will not be able to reopen — that's a solid 25 percent. While the outlet applauds the guidelines' success in helping to "flatten the curve" of new coronavirus cases, they say that the restrictions have been a disaster for the restaurant industry as a whole. 

As many restaurants, even in normal years, operate on razor-thin margins, the lack of customers dining in has cost the industry big. To combat this loss of revenue, numerous businesses have attempted to pivot to takeout and delivery, with some even turning to selling groceries alongside the meals they normally offer.

For some restaurants, though, that hasn't been enough to keep the business afloat.

The challenges restaurants able to reopen might face

CNet reports on the changes you might see in any restaurants that are able to reopen after the crisis, citing examples tentatively being put into place in countries such as Austria, which have now started to slowly reopen. They advise diners to be prepared for plexiglass dividers, masked servers, and laminated menus. The outlet also theorizes we could see reduced hours and seating, and longer wait times as tables and chairs will now need to be fully sanitized between parties. 

Bloomberg says this uncertainty is causing a lot of anxiety among restaurants as they reopen. Many are choosing to hold off on reopening for dine-in service until they have a better grasp on the situation, worried that patrons will not respect social distancing guidelines or feel safe and welcome when being served by masked staff. 

A number of restaurant owners also fear a spike in infection rates after any probationary loosening of restrictions, which would force them to close again. The United States restaurant industry is responsible for employing 15.6 million people, according to the National Restaurant Association.