To call 2020 a challenging year is a bit like calling World War II a serious misunderstanding. It would be difficult to overstate the impact of this year on all of our lives. At this point in the pandemic, given its pervasive global reach, there are very few of us who do not, at the very least, know someone who has been directly affected by COVID-19. For anyone who operates a business, works for a living, has children, parents, grandparents, siblings, co-workers or friends to worry about — I think that about covers all of us, right? — this has been a year we will never forget and one that we would surely like to.
The impact on the restaurant industry has been equally as dramatic. On the whole, operators have done their level best to adapt to the elimination or severe reduction of in-person dining with varying degrees of success. The hard truth is that many will not be able to survive.
At the time of this writing, the light at the end of the tunnel, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, is the positive phase three test results of at least two potential vaccines. We know, however, that even this good news is several months away from changing the landscape. That means that we face a difficult winter, one where we will have to redouble our efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 despite our understandable fatigue.
Let me join the chorus of voices imploring everyone to wear a mask, not only to protect yourself, but just as importantly, to protect those around you. There is no reason not to anymore. Wash your hands like your life depends on it. Socially distance as much as humanly possible. And be vigilant, especially around those who aren’t.
If we act together, then we can face down this challenge as we have so many others. We can look forward to a brighter future without COVID-19 as a constant threat disrupting every aspect of our lives. Restaurants will be able to rebuild and meet the pent-up consumer demand as we start returning to our normal lives.
In the meantime, let’s think about each other. Let’s think about the healthcare workers who risk their lives to help us when we are sick, the essential workers who we all rely on at the moment just to meet our basic needs, and the displaced workers who need extra help right now to get through until their jobs return.