Just days after ordering bars closed, Governor Gavin Newsom shut down restaurant indoor dining rooms in 19 counties in the state of California.
To more clearly understand the scale of this announcement, there are 58 counties throughout the state. Gov. Newsom’s order affects more than 70 percent of the state’s population.
Restaurants—along with wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters and entertainment centers—aren’t closed, according to the governor.
“This doesn’t mean restaurants are shut down,” said Gov. Newsom. Rather, his explanation is that restricting several indoor activities, including dining inside restaurants, “is a way of mitigating the spread of this virus.”
Restaurants that have outdoor dining spaces are permitted to remain open. However, bars—even those with outdoor seating—must keep their doors closed.
It’s difficult to not view this order as a form of shutdown. For businesses without an outdoor area, it certainly does effectively shut them down. And those restaurants with small outdoor areas likely won’t see a value proposition in incurring the costs to remain open to generate very little revenue.
What makes today’s order more devastating is what I’ve touched on in previous posts: reopening just to close once more. During a 7Shifts webinar last month, more than half of operator attendees indicated that was their greatest concern. For many California operators, that just became a reality.
Many governors, mayors and other government officials seem to be doing what they think is best for the greatest amount of people with the information they have on hand. However, it’s devastating to an industry that employs well over 15 million people to allow them to reopen just to close them again or reduce their capacities, making it difficult if not impossible to plan effectively and manage costs.
While there are irresponsible operators and managers who have ignored social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines and requirements, the majority are responsible people following the rules. Partial closures, like the one Gov. Newsom has ordered, make it clear that the hospitality industry must pursue more support and assistance from the federal government.
Gov. Newsom’s order will be in place for the next three weeks—at a minimum. If COVID-19 transmission rates in a county don’t improve, the order will likely remain in place beyond the three weeks.
The order limiting indoor dining and other indoor activities affect the following counties, in alphabetical order: Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Merced, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare and Ventura.
Take action and tell Congress to pass the RESTAURANTS ACT here.
I’ve been studying and writing about the hospitality industry since 2006. Like so many people, I started my journey in this business by working as a host, server and bartender. I was introduced to nightlife in Chicago, learning the ins and outs of nightclubs and after-hours hot spots.
After moving to Las Vegas nearly 20 years ago, I both co-owned a valet company and helped promote the club it serviced. That led to me taking on the role of editor for a Las Vegas hospitality industry publication.
A few short years later, I continued along my journey of hospitality industry reporting. I went from contributing to a major industry outlet to taking on the role of editor and content curator.