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The Economics of Reopening Restaurants

covid, small business, reopening, restaurants
HayDmitriy on Deposit Photos

At last, we are opening this country back up. Many states such as Florida and Texas already have relaxed their protocols. But at the time I am writing this, New York and New Jersey – two of the more locked-down states in the country – announced they would be returning to full capacity at bars, restaurants and sporting events on May 19. It seems vaccination numbers have been promising, and the people are ready to get on with their lives. But how will reopening restaurants and bars affect business owners financially?

New systems to check for vaccination

Our pockets are full of stimulus money, and we are a population dying to go out and see our friends. There are some things we have to keep in mind, however. Restaurants and bars will be able to open at full capacity as long as they have a method for checking if their patrons have been vaccinated. Venues will have to weigh whether they have the staffing and economic need to allow full capacity.

Help wanted – everywhere

Countless restaurants, bars and coffee shops have been hurting for more staff, and the influx of new customers may exhaust their resources. Walking down the street, you see help-wanted posters in nearly every shop window. The bar where I work has been looking for a new bartender for two months now. With increased unemployment benefits and government stimulus, no one wants to go back to their job as a waiter. We need to incentivize a return to the workforce if we ever want to achieve full normalcy. 

Supply chain shortages

On top of that, we are also experiencing many shortages in the food and delivery industries. Products such as chicken, tires, gasoline and much more are in short supply. Without enough food to sell – and trucks or drivers to deliver it – we’re bound to run out of products.

It’s a process.

Reopening restaurants, bars and events is what we all need. I’ve been waiting for the day to go back to my normal life. I want to catch a baseball game. I want to sit in my favorite restaurant and eat a lobster roll. However, there is much more involved than snapping our fingers and saying “open.”

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