How Utah Restaurants Are Faring During COVID-19


Valeria Ferraro / Echoes WIre

A tourist wears a protective mask at Biffi Restaurant in Galleria Vittorio, Milan, amid coronavirus fears. (Photo by Valeria Ferraro | Courtesy Getty Images)

By Gabrielle Klinge, Arts Writer


April showers brought not only May flowers in Salt Lake City but the reopening of many restaurants as well. Local businesses have gained hope as the cases of COVID-19 reportedly plateaued in Utah. According to the official website of the state of Utah, “Gov. Gary R. Herbert issued an Executive Order that formally places the state of Utah under ‘moderate risk’ protocols for COVID-19 beginning on May 1, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.” This means that restaurants are able to open up to the public but at a reduced capacity.

Customers won’t see the regular, bustling atmospheres that their favorite eateries encompassed before the pandemic hit. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, there are a multitude of regulations and strict guidelines that the restaurants will have to abide by in order to reopen. Some of these alterations include tables that are spaced 6 feet apart, smaller party sizes and necessary face coverings.

Many restaurant owners are still considering whether it is worth it to open back up. Since the tables have to be at least 6 feet apart, the restaurants won’t be able to serve as many customers at one time. This means less income for both the owners and the employees. Regarding the new guidelines, Salt Lake Tribune writer Kathy Stephenson noted, “most restaurant owners say they will be lucky to break even under the limited seating restrictions.”

On the other hand, some restaurant owners believe that it is necessary to switch out the “sorry, we’re closed” sign for its “welcome, we’re open” substitute. Kristin Gardiner — an owner of the Taqueria 27 chain in Utah — told the Salt Lake Tribune, “We have to open to survive.” Most businesses were taking advantage of any alternative to regular service that they could during the peak of COVID-19. Now that things have settled down a bit, restaurant owners are being presented with the chance to be back in business, and many of them are jumping at the opportunity. 

The owners are going to have to draw on their creative sides in order to make this “new normal” function correctly. Thomas Cobb, the co-owner of Tokyo Teriyaki, told Fox News, “Trying to find the best solution to survive this has been the most difficult part.” However, a successful system that many restaurants are going to continue to implement into their business is online ordering and curb side pick-up. Lydia Martinez, the owner of Elle Marketing and Events, explained to Fox News that people have gotten used to online ordering and will most likely continue to utilize this method. 

Even though life isn’t close to being back to normal yet, the steps that restaurants are taking reflect progress in Utah. Gov. Herbert said, “If Utahns continue to exercise caution, we can continue flattening the curve and stay below our hospital capacity, while resuming some normalcy in our business and social interactions.”


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