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

The numbers show:

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

The survey cites the rapid rise in the number of Omicron COVID-19 cases as the cause of a “rapid deterioration in business conditions” at California’s restaurants.

The announcement also revealed that the majority of restaurants were forced to offset losses stemming from sharply rising costs (prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic). In fact, the survey shows 85% of restaurant operators say their restaurant’s total costs were higher in December 2021 than in December 2020.

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

The National Restaurant Association estimates that over 135,000 restaurant jobs in California were saved as a result of the initial round of Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants.