Houston restaurant closures are back as omicron wave approaches, with some already facing COVID outbreaks – Houston Chronicle
Yesterday, a little after noon, the Dandelion Cafe posted a notice to its Facebook page. It echoed the sign newly posted on the door of this Bellaire breakfast staple: “Due to a rise in COVID cases, including several among our staff, we feel it is in the best interest of our staff, customers and everyone’s families to close until everyone can work and be in a safe and healthy environment.”
COVID “seems to be picking up in the industry again,” bartender and diner-about-town Chris Frankel posted on Dandelion Cafe’s Facebook page today. “I’ve recently noticed a number of responsible, vaccinated colleagues testing positive and being stuck in quarantine.” Omicron’s ability to break through vaccine defenses is complicating the situation.
If you had a reservation at Tiny Champions tonight, as one of my friends did, you received a text this morning canceling your booking. “Due to possible COVID exposure Tiny Champions will be closed this weekend and all reservations are canceled,” read the notice from the popular EaDo pizza-and-pasta place. “We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to welcoming you back soon.”
A text sent out by Tiny Champions on Dec. 17.
On the Instagram page for Squable, the Heights bistro from chef Justin Yu and Bobby Heugel, a similar notice went up late this morning. “Despite widespread vaccinations among our staff, COVID has broken through. We are closed as of today while we take steps to further the health of our staff and guests. We look forward to seeing you all again as soon as possible.”
January, in the words of Brown School of Public Health researcher Ashish K. Jha, is likely to be “complicated and disruptive.” The small New Year’s Eve gathering a friend was hosting in a private dining room got cancelled this morning, just one of the many calculations consumers and restaurant owners alike will have to balance in the coming weeks.
The temporary restaurant closures come on the heels of two pandemic years’ worth of disruptions and setbacks in the hospitality industry. And they arrive during a holiday season that traditionally is a moneymaker before slower months at the beginning of the new year.
Two years of rolling with the punches has, however, left a more flexible industry in its wake. And one not without optimism: “We plan to return December 27 provided everyone is testing negative and healthy,” wrote the Dandelion Cafe management. Let it be so.