Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a devastating effect on businesses and daily life all over the world, and local restaurants are not an exception. In fact, restaurants may be getting hit the hardest over the past three months with so many Americans electing to buy groceries rather than going out, even before local restaurants were ordered to close. In March, statistics show that as San Francisco and Seattle were rising in cases, dining in restaurants were declining as were reservations. This made it nearly impossible for local restaurants in Springfield, Illinois to turn a profit. While dining in was on the decline, fast food restaurants and eating at home were on the rise.
Groceries Over Takeout
When the World Health Organization classified COVID-19 as a pandemic during the second week of March, leading countries decided to close their borders to prevent the spread. Between the month of February and March, grocery delivery apps increased over 200 percent. As more and more regions started enforcing social distancing, toilet paper and food became scarce. And while a boom in grocery stores is good for them, local restaurants took a major loss.
Restaurants Ordered to Close
The Illinois governor ordered the closure of all dine-in restaurants but allowed delivery and takeout options which many restaurants started to do. Data shows that local restaurants revenue was significantly lower than the previous year’s numbers, creating a problem for restaurants about what to do next. The closure of dine-in restaurants means small, non-chain restaurants will suffer the most, some even relying on fundraising campaigns to stay afloat.
How Local Restaurants Responded
The local restaurant response has been amazing, adapting to the trivial circumstances that were brought upon them because of this pandemic; however, it remains in question about whether that will be enough. Restaurants in Springfield, like Loukinens on 4th, have remained open for curbside pickup, asking customers to call ahead to place an order. Other restaurants have responded with delivery options and a limited menu, even switching their rules, and allowing pick-up orders just to remain in business. While this pandemic is wreaking havoc on the economy and local businesses, local restaurants are doing everything they can to bring customers great comfort food while obliging the social distancing mandate.
So, while we advocate for you to remain safe and remain social distancing, consider supporting a local restaurant and order a curbside pickup meal at your favorite spot.