Restaurants recover from COVID-19 shutdown



Restaurants begin to reopen using safety guidelines after COVID-19 shutdown.

Isabella Ji

Thousands across the United States were hesitant to rush into restaurants when outdoor dining first opened, but ended up caving into their burger cravings and their hunger for fries, despite the consistent coronavirus cases. 

To answer the nation’s questions and concerns for eating at restaurants, the National Restaurant Association stated: “Restaurants are now taking additional steps to meet social distancing guidelines, [including] the use of face coverings as required by local, state or federal officials, as well as enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols and the emphasis on personal hygiene.”

As a student who has worked in two restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic, sophomore Skyler Glusman of Middletown spoke on what she has seen her employers do to handle this situation.

“I have seen people put in new air systems to push the old air out and bring in new cleaner air,” Glusman said, “I’ve seen people using masks and hand sanitizer as well.”

According to Dr. Natalie Dean, assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida, the restaurant staff is the problem with outdoor dining. Though diners do not physically interact with other diners at the restaurant, the same staff member interacts with all of them.

Junior Ainsley Lang of Shrewsbury added to Dr. Dean’s initial concern, acknowledging that there are people who are still uncomfortable with outdoor dining despite the precautionary measures being taken.

“I completely understand why others would disagree [on the safety of outdoor dining] due to the fact that you may be somewhat close to other parties without facial coverings,” Lang said.

Areas such as Broad Street in Red Bank and East Main Street in Manasquan are closed a few times a week in order to help some restaurants bounce back from the losses caused by the pandemic. 

After dining at many restaurants on Broad Street in Red Bank, Lang recognizes the financial strain this time period has put on restaurants, but believes that there is hope for their recoveries.

“COVID has definitely given restaurants a fair amount of challenges, but I am glad that a lot have overcome them and have adjusted to the new normal,” Lang said. “Some will suffer more long term consequences and might take unfortunate measures, but hopefully they will be presented with new opportunities.”