The USDA Economic Research Service offers this calculation of just how bad the first year of the coronavirus pandemic was for restaurants and other establishments relying on our desire not to make our own supper. According to USDA-ERS, restaurant spending in the U.S. dropped 31.7% in 2020. Spending at bars dropped 40.7%. Spending on food at hotels and motels dropped 42.9%.
Think of how many businesses could not have survived a 30% or 40% drop in spending. Think of how many businesses we saved with the Paycheck Protection Program and other necessary socialist interventions in an economy where millions of people exercising their free-market choice were saying, “No way am I going to sit in a crowded restaurant and catch and spread a virus for which there is no vaccine. I’m staying home and making sandwiches.”