Diners stepped in when the government didn’t to help restaurants, but why did they have to?

After a year of diligently supporting beloved restaurants and bars through takeout orders, fundraisers, and makeshift outdoor dining, Eater’s Hillary Dixler Canavan argued that diners shouldn’t have been put in this position in the first place. Unfortunately, government responses to the Covid-19 crisis, both local and federal, have ranged from confusing at best to nonexistent at worst, which left folks in the lurch on how to best help the 2.5 million people who lost restaurant industry jobs. This was a “charade of ‘choice,’” wrote Canavan, with the government blurring the lines of what was safe or unsafe restaurant behavior. That charade allowed those deemed essential workers to keep working, while also failing to provide protective gear, funds, or even accelerated access to vaccines. “But underneath every available option is the one terrible choice the government constructed for all of us: Engage with restaurants or watch the industry disappear.”