The first time I felt the real impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was two weeks before school closed. I wanted to go have dinner at Murakami, my favorite Japanese restaurant in Los Angeles. My mom said it might not be safe to eat out because of COVID-19 spreading in the community, so we decided to pick up the food. My mom placed an order on the phone and my dad went to pick it up. He came back so quickly and said there was not a single customer at the restaurant, which surprised me as the restaurant was usually packed at this time.
With the COVID-19 pandemic becoming a pressing issue in the US, particularly in places like New York City and Los Angeles, we have seen many restaurants and other businesses closing their doors. In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered the closure of all restaurants, nightclubs, gyms, and entertainment venues except for takeout or delivery from restaurants.
As a resident of Los Angeles, I have seen all my favorite restaurants go from sit-down to takeout or delivery. But as many people are looking to be cautious and avoid having to go out as much as possible, some of these restaurants are not faring well in their business. Another example is a local pizza place I liked that stopped doing takeout and delivery because they were not getting enough customers.
All this shows that even though restaurants are offering alternatives to sit-down meals, many people are being as careful as possible and are eating at home and making their own food. Because people are not going to restaurants anymore, online grocery shopping has become a big part of life. As part of the practice of social distancing, this is probably a good thing so that people can avoid being close to each other lessoning the chance of contracting this lethal virus. However, for many people, it is difficult to purchase the brand they usually buy because many items are out of stock. Another issue is that selecting the time slot for delivery or pickup is very difficult because there are just so many people ordering food.
Fortunately, there has been an effort to help the restaurant business. With the recent signing of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package by President Donald Trump, $300 billion will be used as loans for businesses with less than 500 employees. 90% of restaurants in the country have less than 50 employees, so the restaurant business will be impacted by this stimulus. It has been estimated that the restaurant industry will lose more than $225 billion because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and five to seven million restaurant workers could lose their jobs by June. This money can be used to pay for any kind of employee compensation. In addition to the stimulus package from the government, one of the ways we can help out local restaurants is getting their gift cards to use after the pandemic is over, which shows them that you care about their future.