The COVID-19 pandemic certainly placed stress on industries across the board, but few were hit as severely, and as immediately, as the service industries.
Bars and restaurants were among the first businesses to shutter their doors, and many never reopened. According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 110,000 restaurants and bars closed in the United States last year.
That's a huge loss of both jobs, an estimated 2.5 million lost, and business activity, in the realm of $240 billion dollars.
But fast forward through nearly 14 months of reinvention from the industry, where restaurants are utilizing more takeout options, installing plastic barriers on tables, and limiting capacity--many hope to be returning to some sense of "normal".
Sales in March jumped more than 13%, to $62 billion, the strongest one-month increase in the past 12 months.
Warm weather here in Cleveland, as well as the city hosting an event like the NFL Draft, certainly helps with the increase in business--but some establishments are having trouble in convincing their staff to come back to work.
Reasons are many. Some still fear COVID-19, others found better work, or perhaps, say some employers, the increased federal unemployment benefits make returning to work simply not worth it.
Today's we'll talk to some local restauranteurs and get the current lay of the land.
Later in the hour we'll learn about a new book from Brandy Schillace, Ph.D. She's a medical historian who's most recent work, "Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher" follows the life of Clevelander Dr. Robert White and his many hard-to-believe medical undertakings.
Harold Harrison, chief of human resources, Cleveland Metroparks
Doug Petkovic, owner and operator, Flannery's Pub and Mabel's BBQ
Karen Small, owner, the Flying Fig
Brandy Schillace, Ph.D.; author, "Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher"; editor in chief, Medical Humanities Journal, BMJ London