In restaurants and bars nationwide, not only are the tables and booths vacant, so are the walk-in coolers, beer taps, wine glasses, grills, prep tables and salad bars. The hostess station is without an attendant and bus-tubs are void of silverware. Neither can a bartender or waiter/waitress be found.
The vacancies are not due to a personnel shortage or a mass walkout. Rather decisions and policies made by federal government officials, state governors, local government officials and health department officers caused the labor deficit. The indoor dining experience has been rendered extinct.
The ability to shutter these establishments are promulgated as a "temporary and necessary pause" designed to preserve the health of the public during the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020. Since the first stated 'interim intervention' in March 2020, disjointed stops and starts to the many rules of operation decreed by the lawmakers have left shopkeepers, owners and employees confused, angry, and without income.
As each "temporary closure" draws near, according to the powers that be, it suddenly becomes necessary to exact more stringent restrictions on the already ailing survivors of the last edict, or, extend the current intermission 'just a little bit more', lest more harm is cast upon society by one enjoying a meal and beverage away from home.
Without doubt the food service industry as it relates to indoor dining has been devastated by the actions of bureaucrats and the attached bureaucracy. The precarious nature of future allowances for the restaurateur by the rule makers offer diminishing hope to those lives which have been thus far negatively affected.
The daily news is replete with stories of restaurant and bar closures, service staff losing their job and those families inability to meet financial obligations. For each business closure, one could extract from the employees of that establishment, numerous personal stories, as they attempt to forecast their future. Uncertainty and angst remain the common denominator for each employee.
The stories we do not hear about and should also discuss are those of the bar/restaurant associated businesses. Unless an establishment is a self-contained "farm to table eatery", the relationship between the restaurant and its suppliers is one of mutual value, and is also being destroyed.
Necessary items such as raw food products, beverage distributors, paper products, kitchen equipment and service of same, dining room furniture, trash removal, building maintenance and administrative services to name a few are no longer being utilized by the inoperative diners.
Those business can no longer service their customers, and in turn can no longer retain a staff, which in turn cannot support their families. The headlines don't reflect, nor do lawmakers speak to the full effect of their policies, therefore, they have created another casualty in the one-sided view of their solution. The same uncertainty of the future exists in those who serve the service industry.
The symbiosis of these industries along with the destruction of the economic well-being of thousands is now threatened by the prohibited and unthinkable activity - DINING & DRINKING IN PUBLIC!