WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ Winter is quickly approaching, and Rep. Jim Langevin is expressing his concern for restaurants across the country, especially since the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has already had a significant impact on the industry.
Langevin, D-Rhode Island, said the colder weather may make people more reluctant to eat outside and, due to restrictions on indoor dining, restaurants can only serve a limited number of guests.
“They were able to adapt during the summer when we could close down streets, use parking lots, put tables outside ─ people were more willing to go out too,” Langevin said.
“People don’t want to eat outside,” he continued. “They’re not going to eat outside and restaurants are limited in capacity – 25%, if people will even go inside right now. I’m one of those in the category I’m reluctant to go inside any building right now.”
Restaurant owners nationwide are urging Congress to provide them with additional financial relief as they struggle to stay afloat.
“It’s not just for the restaurants, it’s for our people, it’s for our staff, it’s for our family,” Michael Rulon-Miller, a manager at Silver Diner in Maryland said.
After adapting to COVID-19 restrictions by expanding the diner’s outdoor seating, Rulon-Miller said their future this winter may depend solely on take-out orders.
“Carhop carryout, that’s what we’re putting our money into,” he said. “Air purification system ─ we’re doubling down on that, we’re saying that this is going to be the new normal so why not do it now and get ahead of the game to ensure that our customers are safe?”
Rulon-Miller said the restaurant industry is hanging by a thread and lawmakers need to help restaurant owners survive throughout the pandemic.