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Wine Spectator: As Shutdowns Return, Restaurants Grapple With The New, New Normal

November 19, 2020

For restaurateurs in cities across the U.S., winter is arriving early. After a trying year of pandemic shutdowns followed by a dance of takeout, outdoor service, and limited indoor service, the industry is looking at shutdowns again as Covid-19 cases spike throughout the nation.

“I was and am extremely concerned for our restaurant community,” said Rachael Lowe, beverage director at Spiaggia, Chicago’s famed Italian eatery. “To closely experience the myriad emotions our hourly employees are experiencing with the constant state of upheaval, closures, reopenings, and then closing again, it’s really devastating. So many people are not only without work, but now faced with decisions they might have never considered, such as another career path.”

Local governments are reinstituting measures—including a halt on indoor dining—in an effort to help control the spread of the virus. Chicago banned indoor dining October 30 and San Francisco followed suit November 14. Yesterday, new shutdown rules went into effect for indoor dining at restaurants and bars in Michigan and Oregon. New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota have implemented 10 p.m. curfews for restaurants.

Restaurateurs that have survived the pandemic thus far are worried that their already-struggling businesses won’t make it through the winter. According to Lowe, many former employees are either living off of their savings or unemployment checks with no stimulus support in sight. Wine Spectator has a full report.—Gillian Sciaretta

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