Restaurants are temporarily shutting down (again) as the latest variant sweeps the nation

With Covid cases skyrocketing as the Omicron variant sweeps the nation, restaurants are once again scrambling to enact damage control. The Washington Post reports that over the past month, restaurant after restaurant has announced they are temporarily shuttering—in some cases for days—after learning that staff members or diners tested positive for the coronavirus; others, as a precautionary measure, have closed without any confirmed exposure so their staff can get tested. The latest pandemic wave is coming at the end of what has been an already exhausting year, with supply chain crises, rising food costs, confrontational customers, and perpetual understaffing all straining restaurants’ ability to keep afloat. Now add to that the cost of putting business on pause during the holiday season, a decision one restaurant owner in Washington, D.C., estimates will run her tens of thousands of dollars between lost revenue and payroll costs. Still, the era of endless pivots carries on, and we’re seeing some restaurants dust off their lockdown-era playbooks, with the return of takeout-only options. And it looks like for many others, it’ll be another winter of bundled up customers sipping cocktails in outdoor sheds. —Matthew Sedacca

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