Waffle Houses are little outposts of Americana. They’re near highways and adjacent to hotels and truck stops all over the nation. They’re always open, always welcoming, and they always have bacon. I probably should’ve led with that.
Their CEO, Walter Ehmer, has a solid handle on whether restaurants under his watch, or really under just about any watch, spread COVID. He says they don’t.
Since the science doesn’t match up with how state officials are responding, by closing dining rooms and restricting restaurants, Ehmer told Fox News’ “America’s News HQ” that the American people are just being unnecessarily harmed.
“We have proven, over these nine months, we have zero evidence of any spread being traced back to our restaurants for our people or our customers,” he said. “We’ve traced back all of our infections… and it all traces back to something away from the restaurant.”
“We are disproportionately hurting American people who are wanting to work for no data and no science that ties back to that being a dangerous place,” he added.
The virus spreads along travel routes, so it stands to reason that of all restaurant chains, Waffle Houses would be the most likely spreaders — if restaurants were major vectors. The data seems to be all over the place, but New York, one of the viral epicenters, has only seen less than 2% of its cases tied to restaurants, according to Newsweek.
In California, it’s less than 4%.
Democrat governors, mayors, and county executives have targeted restaurants for closure, shutting them down to limited or curbside service, or even closing them altogether, in the name of halting the spread of the coronavirus. COVID is spreading in some of the most locked-down states anyway, such as California, where this restauranteur’s objection went viral when a movie catering lot was allowed to set up right next door.
The order to close even outdoor dining forced Angela Marsden to close down her place, the Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill. Last week, the LA County supervisors voted 3-2 to end all outdoor dining. Supervisor Sheila Kuehl provided the final vote to close down, declaring outdoor dining “dangerous.” To celebrate her vote, she headed to one of her favorite restaurants and had her last outdoor meal. So much for being dangerous.
But what’s worse, ABC7 News reports that Marsden had just shelled out $80,000 to create the outdoor dining space which she was now forced to close. It was the one last way she’d be able to keep her ten-year-old business afloat. But when she came early to deliver her employees their last paychecks, she couldn’t help but notice the other outdoor dining space that had just popped up overnight. It was open.
The shutdowns are devastating the restaurant industry. On Dec. 7, the Seattle Times reported that about 110,000 restaurants have shuttered for good nationwide because governments have forced them to shut down. That’s easily a million or more jobs destroyed, just in the restaurant industry, which is in freefall. Congress’ paltry $600 per person “relief” — while it doles out $700,000,000 to Sudan and the like — is a slap in these American workers’ faces. Some are slapping back, but the damage done is enormous.
Waffle House itself — where there’s always bacon — has closed hundreds of its restaurants throughout the pandemic.
But for what? We have months of data now. There’s little to no sign that restaurants are major spreaders. Nursing homes within Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reach are. In fact, there’s mounting evidence that shutdowns themselves do little or nothing to halt the spread. The virus is gonna virus and will spread until enough have immunity to stop it, or the vaccine does. Destroying people’s livelihoods isn’t helping.