More than half of California restaurants forced to cut hours due to Omicron variant, survey finds

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The rapid increase in the number of Omicron variant COVID-19 cases has impacted the restaurant industry, resulting in an increase in the number of restaurant closures, reduced hours for days they were open, as well as reduced seating, according to a survey created by the California Restaurant Association.

The numbers indicate:

  • 54% of restaurants have reduced their opening hours on opening days
  • 29% of restaurants closed on normally open days
  • 39% of restaurants have reduced their capacity
  • 8% of restaurants have changed to only offer off-premises service for a certain time

The survey cites the rapidly increasing number of Omicron COVID-19 cases as the cause of “rapidly deteriorating business conditions” at California restaurants.

The announcement also revealed that the majority of restaurants have been forced to make up losses resulting from the sharp increase in costs (prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic). In fact, the survey shows that 85% of restaurateurs say their total restaurant costs were higher in December 2021 than in December 2020.

The survey also highlights benefits from the Federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund for California restaurants, designed to provide emergency relief to eligible restaurants, bars and other businesses impacted by COVID-19. The fund was part of the American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed into law in March 2021. The author of the survey, the California Restaurant Association, says the Restaurant Revitalization Fund has helped save many businesses and jobs.

The National Restaurant Association estimates that more than 135,000 restaurant jobs in California have been saved thanks to the first round of Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants.

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