From Dining Out to Take Out
Restaurants Scramble to Offer Safe Dining Choices
The majority of us have noticed a significant shift in our eating habits while under various stages of lockdowns. Initially, while states were in Phase 1, most of us could not go out to restaurants and fast food options were the only option for outsourcing meals.
Since states have opened up in various stages, restaurant options have increased. Considering we are now spending a significant portion of our time at home, heading outside the house for food is an oft-welcomed field trip for the entire household.
Having said that, we were interested in how the pandemic has affected restaurants and their employees, what restaurants were able to stay open, and how these factors compare against a number of reported cases.
Open Restaurants as Compared to New Cases
The first data set we examined was sourced from Open Table1. We looked at restaurants that were open for reservations and compared that to the number of cases in the regions2. We divided the country into four regions. As shown in the table below, where the green bars represent the daily new cases and the orange line represents the percent of restaurants available for reservations, the South region, which includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and the District of Columbia, shows the most significant number of new cases, exceeding the number of cases in the other three regions combined. By comparison, however, the number of closed restaurants was approximately 65 percent, the highest number in all three regions. This implies that restaurants are not the most significant source of transmission of new cases.