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While dreaming of sushi, our favorite tweet of the week (so far) comes courtesy of a sommelier in Chicago

My favorite walk in customers are the ones who arrive when we’re booked and want to sit at a privately reserved table with other customers. Sorry, bros. We are not in a shared table era. And every woman ever probably appreciates that.

Gallows humor is defined as “grim and ironic humor in a desperate or hopeless situation,” and with the arrival of the cooler weather season, and the inevitable reduction of pandemic-defying outdoor seating, it can feel like the walls are closing in. 

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) continues rapping urgently on the window pane, reminding a nation distracted by just about everything that big-time hard times could be coming for food and drink purveyors. 

Haley Cawthon at Louisville Business First explains cites an information release from the NRA that breaks down COVID-19’s nationwide impact to date. 

Nearly one in every six restaurants — equating to almost 100,000 establishments nationally — have closed permanently or are currently closed long term. The association said those closures are accompanied by nearly three million employees still out of work and in total, the industry is on track to lose $240 billion in sales by the end of the year.

Earlier this week a Courier Journal headline hinted at the surreal push-pull of regulations versus public behavior during the pandemic, with business operators caught in the middle in search of toeholds.

Beshear pushes back Kentucky’s bar, restaurant curfews so guests can watch sports,” it read. The governor’s latest addendum was explained. 

Beginning Sept. 15, last call for service will be at 11 p.m. with establishments expected to close by midnight. This was a specific request from those in the restaurant industry, Beshear said. 
“We are revising our guidance on our bars and restaurants as it pertains to their curfew … in recognition that especially with sports coming back, some of the games can now go until 11.”
Beshear stressed that industries like the hospitality industry, which have regulations set to prevent the spread of COVID-19, should “try to do it right” and not try to find a way around the rules. 

These developments arrived on the heels of a widely reported Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report, derived from a survey of as many as 314 adults, summarized by National Public Radio

Adults who tested positive for the coronavirus were about twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant within a two-week period prior to becoming sick, according to a new study from Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

The fine print comes a bit further along. 

Though the study has limitations — including its size and the fact that participants weren’t asked to distinguish between indoor or outdoor dining — it echoes concerns over safety in bars and restaurants during the pandemic. Many states have imposed restrictions on reopened restaurants.

Forecasting the future is a fool’s errand, but if there were such a thing as a Farmer’s Almanac for the restaurant industry, it likely would be taking a pessimistic view of business climate conditions during the coming months.

As for what can be done to help, there’s a mantra for that: Think globally, eat and drink locally. Obviously one’s favorite eateries must “try to do it right,” to reiterate Governor Beshear’s words.

Most are.

If you feel comfortable with an eatery’s safety protocols, your on-premise patronage is appreciated, but it also bears reminding that curbside carryout (and conventional takeaway) remain viable options. The author’s household has had delightful experiences with curbside in New Albany during the past few weeks.

A recurring, useful rule for writing under any circumstances is to always refrain from quoting Winston Churchill, but today this rule will be broken, then chased with breakfast champagne.

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps,
the end of the beginning.