PHILADELPHIA, PA - The recent outbreak of Omicron out of South Africa, a variant of COVID, has put the restaurant industry on edge. Though this particular variant has not affected restaurant profits or revenues yet, it has led many to question whether they'll survive another shutdown or increased mandates.
The idea of another year of restrictions leaves many questioning if their establishment can endure another round. Still, the omicron-variant threatens to put already hurting businesses on the brink of bankruptcy, out of business for good.
While reservations at most restaurants in New York City and Philadelphia have declined by nearly two-thirds since the initial outbreak in 2019. Many local restaurants have made drastic changes, including adding outdoor seating, newer technology, and ventilation systems. All of which has been costly to the owner.
As the omicron virus continues to spread worldwide, the restaurant industry may be one of the first to feel the effects, despite the restaurant industry's already slow recovery and hiring shortages. The new variant could threaten the already hurting industry further. Depending on the strain and potency, restaurant spending will be affected, and tourism is expected to suffer a more resounding blow.
What is clear is that another round of shutdowns would devastate the Philadelphia region's restaurant and entertainment industries. Many are already feeling the effect of the slow recovery, food shortages, and current inflation.
Although there is no definitive answer about how Omicron will affect the restaurant industry, the virus will likely continue to spread.