This New Year’s Eve night was different for so many, including restaurants and bars.
What’s normally a financial boost for starting the new year just wasn’t happening at the same level as previous years.
No crowds because of COVID-19.
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“With all the social distancing that we are doing and limited seating, we have just a much smaller amount of people that we can take,” chef and owner of Chamberlain’s Steak and Fish House Richard Chamberlain said.
Fewer customers allowed by COVID-19 restrictions meant fewer dollars coming in on one of the biggest revenue nights of the year.
“This is arguably, probably with Mother’s Day, one of the biggest nights of the year for our industry,” Texas Restaurant Association President Emily Williams Knight said.
Knight said the industry knew this was coming with COVID-19 restrictions in place and the number of party reservations down because many people just chose not to go out.
“There’s no doubt we’re forecasting at least a 30 to 40% decrease in traffic that would have been here this time last year,” Knight said.
But for Chamberlain, while occupancy may have been down, there was an upside.
“The silver lining is to-go business,” Chamberlain said. “We’re blessed to have that and it really helps. Tonight, it might be as much as 30% of our business.”
The service industry remains positive and hopeful for a better new year.
“We are set up for success,” Knight said. “If we can get the vaccine rolling out. If we can get the stimulus dollars in people’s pockets, build trust, we will recover and really projects are that Texas will recover faster than any other state when it comes to the restaurant industry.”
“I just encourage people to support their local neighborhood restaurants and keep them going because we need them,” Chamberlain said.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.