The pandemic has presented an unprecedented challenge to the global economy. But to restaurants and bars the threat is nothing short of existential. A recent survey released by Yelp queried some 24,000 establishments that had shuttered during the coronavirus lockdown. Shockingly, it found that more than half—a full 53%—will be shuttered permanently. Things were looking a touch more promising in early June, when most states across the country began a measured reopen of restaurants and bars. But an alarming surge in new cases prompted large states like Texas and Florida to reassess. As of today, California joins them.
The pause button was hit in Texas last Friday when Governor Gregg Abbott was faced with the grim prospect of becoming the viruses latest epicenter. “As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10% the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” he said in a statement. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars.”
Any outpost that collects majority of its income from alcohol sales was given until noon on the 26th to closeup shop. Takeout and delivery sales are still allowed. As for restaurants throughout the Lone Star State, they’ll have to cap capacity at 50%—a potentially crippling reality for an industry that often operates at razor thin margins.