Every year, many companies put together their greatest minds (and checkbooks) to develop the best Super Bowl commercial. This year, Cardi B joined the Wayne’s World duo of Mike Myers and Dana Carvey to provide a resonant message amidst the Covid-19 crisis, “Eat Local!”. While the satiric nature of the commercial adds humor to the equation, for many restaurants (at least the ones still open) the situation is far more dire.
Covid-19 has had a dramatic and often negative impact on a multitude of industries. However, the restaurant industry has been hit especially hard, with dine-in-reliant restaurants seeing revenues drop to almost zero overnight. Just in the first couple of months of the pandemic, nearly a quarter of all restaurant workers lost their jobs. Furthermore, the restaurant industry for 2020 came up several hundred billion dollars short of its pre-Covid projections. Needless to say, restaurants in America are and have been, in dire straits.
With political discussions as partisan as ever, unfortunately, the restaurant industry has seen only minimal government relief. In fact, a good chunk of the government relief acts seems to fall short of helpful for the restaurant industry. Regulations and capacity limitations for these bills are not targeted at many of the unique attributes that make up the restaurant industry, often leaving especially small, independent restaurants on their own.
While Covid-19 as an economic force has devastated the restaurant industry, Covid-19 as a disease also has its own array of negative implications. An article from the popular food new website, Eater, highlights how restaurant workers, especially in the front of the house where interaction is higher, are at great risk for contracting Covid-19. With the dynamic nature of the job, anti-mask customers, and the general unpredictability of customer interaction, Covid-19 has high chances of infiltrating any restaurant workspace no matter the precautions. All of this just adds to the instability and volatility of the current restaurant industry, forcing more and more restaurants to close by the week.
Though the past year of news has been pretty bad for restaurants across the country, there is still some hope. With spring approaching, restaurants will be looking to increase capacity by moving back outdoors. Additionally, a new administration in the White House could easily lead to more favorable resolutions for the starved industry. Regardless, no matter where you are, the words of Cardi B ring loud and true, a cry for help, “Eat Local!”.