Restaurants refusing to open

This weekend, many places across the country are just now starting to re-open their economies.

Certain businesses like fitness centers, bowling alleys, barbershops, and restaurants are re-opening their doors to the public and some are thrilled, while others are very worried.

In fact, some are refusing to join in on re-opening. 

More than 120 restaurants in Atlanta have come together to form the #GAHospitalityTogether initiative which includes award-winning chefs Ford Fry, Anne Quatrano, Hugh Acheson and Mashama Bailey. 

The group put out a statement and stated, “We agree that it’s in the best interest of our employees, our guests, our community and our industry to keep our dining rooms closed at this time.”

They affirmed that public safety is their top priority and that they stand united to “emerge stronger, safer and more steadfast than before.”

Restaurants are not allowed to completely open up right now in places like Georgia. There are many restrictions put in place such as only allowing them to open up 50% in capacity.

That restriction alone will keep some restaurants closed because it may not be economical to run at half capacity.

Servers rely massively on tips and with only half of the patrons inside, those tips will also be cut in half and may not be enough for some to risk their health. 

In fact, some servers may be much better off relying on unemployment benefits assuming that they can get them (the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC) provides an additional $600 per week to individuals who are collecting unemployment).

As for when they will open up, Fred Castellucci, CEO of Castellucci Hospitality Group and one of the restaurant owners leading the initiative, told Business Insider, “It’s what we feel is best for the safety and health of our restaurants, our teams and our customers right now, and as we see cases drop to a low enough number, we’ll evaluate the risk factors and begin to implement our reopening plans.”

Crazy enough, I’ve seen reports of some restaurants actually doing better during these times, which is another angle to consider.

Some places have been able to still get takeout orders going on a constant flow and with a smaller crew, they have seen better profits.

So some establishments will not be running to reopen based not only on the health concerns but on profitability.

Overall, it feels like places should not be opening up until they have had a steady decline in cases which is not what is happening in some of the states that are re-opening.

But perhaps these measures they are putting in place to enforce greater social distancing and better sanitation will result in a better outcome than many expect.

I just hope that the states have plans to return to a lock down quickly if another major surge is on the horizon.