We are living in unprecedented times. In the span of two months, COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of the American economy, including local restaurants. It has left and continues to leave a gaping hole in the pockets of small businesses and their employees. 

The food industry, specifically independent restaurants, were hit the hardest; the food and beverage sector alone accounted for 60% of March’s job loss. Restaurants that were once the pillars of their communities have been closed for weeks. Some are unsure if they will even recover from the financial loss. In states that have slowly reopened, local restaurants are struggling to stay afloat as profits have taken a nosedive. It's hard to classify this current state of limbo, but it's clear that the future of food is uncertain.  We don't know what the restaurant industry will look like after this pandemic runs its course, but here are five ways you can support your favorite local spots during this difficult time. 

Order in 

noodles, Asian, soup, takeout, vietnamese, Vietnam, pho, beef soup, noodle, neon, signage, Restaurant, restaurants, Asian restaurant
Denise Uy

Many restaurants rely on revenue from takeout orders since dine-in either isn't an option or won't cover the costs. If you don't feel like cooking on a Friday night (or any night of the week), please patronize your favorite pho place or that new barbecue spot. Trust me, the food will taste just as good from the comfort of your home

Buy Gift Cards

Lexi Shepherd

Coronavirus will not last forever. There will be a day when we will enjoy restaurants like we used to, but until that day comes, why not stock up on gift cards to your favorite places? Buying gift cards is a great way to support businesses while maintaining your social distance!


pizza, coffee, worker, Cooking, Kitchen, cook, chef, Restaurant, work
Alex Frank

Many restaurant workers are out of a job. Fortunately, several restaurants have created GoFundMe pages to provide their employees with some financial relief during these times. Nonprofit organizations have also stepped up such as Atlanta's The Giving Kitchen , who is raising donations for foodservice workers across Georgia. Whatever the amount may be, donations can truly make a difference in the life of a restaurant worker. 

Contact your Local Representative 

coffee, espresso, tea
Karen Tran

Call or email your local and state representatives concerning financial relief packages for restaurant workers and members of the food service industry. Due to the power of restaurant chain giants, small businesses are not getting the representation needed at this time. Find out what your state or local government is doing to help, and hold them accountable. 

Support, Support, Support!

coffee, cafe, Restaurant, exterior, exteriors, sidewalk, street, streets, Shanghai, China
Denise Uy

The way that we dine will ultimately change forever, and the food we consume might come at a higher price. Although COVID-19 will dramatically alter an important part of our social culture, it's important that we support the foodservice industry and its local restaurants while we can.

For students returning to UGA come fall, there's a potential chance that restaurant faves such as Clocked!, Mama's Boy, or Cali-N-Titos may be closed for good. These integral parts of the Athens community make my college campus special and without them, what would we have? Be it the mom and pop Italian joint across the street from your house or that up-and-coming poke bowl place, now, more than ever, these small businesses need their communities. Let's help each other out!