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Jon Taffer, best known for hosting reality TV series “Bar Rescue,” is worried that social distancing and new safety standards will impact the way restaurants and bars are operated once the coronavirus ends.
Taffer told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade on Monday that he believes kitchens of the future may look more like a “surgical operating room.”
“We're going to see people masked and wearing hats and we're going to see these levels of safety in these restaurants,” he said. “There’s going to be new standards.”
What may pose a huge threat to eateries, Taffer said, will be the public’s demand for space from strangers – completely altering the seating capacity of restaurants and decreasing the number of guests able to be seated at once.
Employee Rick Lambert monitors the number of people entering the concession area at Forest Park Golf Course, Friday, March 20, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
“I believe that spacing isn't going to end when the virus ends, or a vaccine happens,” he said. “People are not going to sit shoulder to shoulder with each other again. You're not going to sit next to somebody who's coughing at a sporting game, a bar or a restaurant.”
As a business model, Taffer said the industry must begin to spread seating in bars and restaurants across the country. But by spreading tables six feet apart, in most floor plans, 40 to 50 percent of seating capacity could be lost.
Taffer said reopening a business takes more than just turning the key. Now, in addition to adhering to new sanitation standards and losing money in customer numbers, reopening a restaurant will be a big expense for owners.
“I have to pay my employees during the pandemic, but now I have to buy inventory,” he said. “I have to get my restaurant set up. I got to train employees again. As you know, reopening a restaurant isn't cheap…. There’s a lot of expense to it.”