Reopening restaurants is a death sentence for workers and the industry | Opinion


Alexandra Jones, For the Inquirer

“Many owners are so focused on their business that they can see only two paths out of this seemingly interminable, yet entirely avoidable crisis: restaurants stay closed through the pandemic and shutter, or dining rooms reopen and everything’s fine.

This dichotomy is false. We’ve seen what happened when cities nationwide resumed service prematurely: Nashville, Baltimore, Chicago, and Atlanta, not to mention the state of California, have drastically reduced or eliminated indoor dining when cases spiked after reopening.

Meanwhile, restaurants with lower price points and more creative chefs are coming up with alternative ways to survive that don’t involve crowding jewel-box dining rooms, from Hardena’s sought-after “Not Pizza” rijsttafel boxes to South Philly Barbacoa’s People’s Kitchen, where grant funds support making thousands of meals for those in need.

Rather than embrace mass casualty from the virus, leaders of the hospitality industry should be calling—loudly and publicly—for long-term, widespread relief that allows for a truly safe reopening and supports workers, not just owners.”