Tough Fall projected for restaurant industry

SALISBURY, Md. – A tough Fall season is being forecasted for the restaurant industry, as cold weather combines with a labor shortage to drive down sales and hurt the restaurant industry.

This year, with the spread of delta variant, consumers are choosing outdoor dining over indoor dining, and if they can’t eat outdoors, a new report released by Restaurant Business Online says they won’t come at all. Salisbury Chamber of Commerce President  Bill Chambers told 47 ABC  surviving this fall could be the biggest challenge the industry has faced since the pandemic began.

“The situation with staffing is bad and getting worse, establishments are not able to fill vacant positions reducing the number of hours that they are open and closed on days they were normally open, and we don’t see an end in sight,” he said, adding “By the time November gets here we’ll be, the industry will be in a worse spot than in the worst place in the pandemic.”

He says part of the worker shortage, is that workers still don’t view interacting with large amounts of customers as a safe decision as delta cases continue to rise. He says he’d like to see all employees and customers be vaccinated.

“That way these restaurants can say that they are safe and people can feel comfortable again going indoors and having that space be open,” he said.

Chambers believes there needs to be more federal dollars to help keep restaurants afloat until delta cases fall, and the warmer summer months can be reached. He believes only federal dollars can make that impact and is pushing for Congress to pass the second round of funding as part of the Federal Restaurant Revitalization Funds.

He says he supports the current bill on capital hill that would fund the program for 50 billion dollars, but he says the issue is making sure restaurants are able to use it.

“Two-thirds of Maryland restaurants that applied for the relief funds from the federal government did not receive any, that’s why it needs to be funded again,” he said.

Categories: Business, Local News, Maryland