CORONAVIRUS

Restaurants seeing effects of new COVID-19 surge, eyeing next steps

Jan 3, 2022, 10:08 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:33 pm

KIMBALL JUNCTION, SUMMIT COUNTY — Restaurants were among the small businesses Monday already taking countermeasures or plotting their next steps in the coming weeks amid a new pandemic surge.

With the prospects of cases and exposures potentially sidelining employees now or in the near future, it was imperative for “mom-and-pop” establishments especially to have a plan.

“Just today alone, I’ve got two messages from restaurant owners and managers,” said Brooks Kirchheimer, co-founder of Hearth and Hill in Kimball Junction. “One definitely had to shut down and go to curbside only, and another is considering if others in their staff test positive over the next 24 to 48 hours that they may have to go curbside only over the weekend, if even shut down.”

It was a small sample size, but nonetheless substantive to a restaurant owner who was already contemplating the possibility of staffing challenges.

So far, Kirchheimer said one of the most notable differences at Hearth and Hill during the recent surge has been with reservations, which suddenly turned wildly unpredictable when it came to whether the parties would actually show or not.

“Obviously, Christmas week is a huge business week for this community in a mountain town and I think (there has been a difference) because of three things — either, A. someone has COVID, B. they’re a little bit more leery to go out into a place that doesn’t have open windows or doors like we did in the summer or, C. travel plans are constantly changing,” Kirchheimer said. “That’s causing fluctuations in reservations that we’ve never seen before — going up by 50, and 2 hours later, going down by 30, and then back up by 40.”

Kirchheimer said restaurants are always having to plan for how much staff is needed on a given night, and the unpredictability of the number of guests has made the math difficult.

As he eyed the coming weeks and the ongoing surge, he said many restaurants are at a pivotal point again with their business models.

In Park City specifically, he said how the Sundance Film Festival proceeds this month could have a significant impact one way or the other on bottom lines.

More generally, he said many restaurants and small businesses no longer have the helping hand of the government to help guide them through the difficulties of previous surges.

“Restaurants and businesses are really at a new point where they need to make decisions of, alright, how do we operate this without that extra support financially,” Kirchheimer said.

Kirchheimer said paramount, though, was still the health of workers — who make doing business possible in the first place. He noted that he believed the establishment was one of the first in Utah at the outset of the pandemic to mandate masks for staff and guests.

Workers were masked Monday and the restaurant had been continuing to offer a $50 incentive for booster shots, as they had done previously for vaccine doses.

“Without a staff, you have no restaurant to run,” Kirchheimer said. “We’re really hopeful that this winter will continue and people make the safe and right decisions and we all can help each other out.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Coronavirus

FILE: Former Utah Jazz John Stockton reacts during a 76-70 Wichita State win over the Gonzaga Bulld...

Michael Houck

Former Utah Jazz star John Stockton sues Washington medical director about COVID misinformation policy

Former Utah Jazz superstar John Stockton has filed a federal lawsuit against Washington officials on First Amendment violations, arguing the state's policy of COVID-19 misinformation is unconstitutional.

1 month ago

Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

2 months ago

FILE —  Respiratory virus illness activity continues to increase across the US.
(Joe Burbank/Orl...

Emma Benson

‘Not viruses to mess around with’: Experts urge caution during ongoing ‘tripledemic’

Experts say though not as severe as last year, this winter we're seeing another "tripledemic" – rising cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV in Utah.

3 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Emma Benson

‘The ICUs are full:’ Keep yourself and others healthy this holiday

It's time for holiday gatherings, but with more people around us comes a greater risk of getting sick.

4 months ago

Julianna Preece goes through the mountain of medical documents she's acquired for her health condit...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Herriman couple is suing CVS, says 5x Covid vaccine dose mistake caused health problems

A couple is suing a Utah CVS vaccination clinic, saying a nurse’s mistake led to the wife receiving five times the normal COVID-19 vaccine dose and caused serious health issues she’s still dealing with today.

4 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Associated Press

More free COVID-19 tests from the government are available for home delivery through the mail

Americans can order more free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery.

5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Restaurants seeing effects of new COVID-19 surge, eyeing next steps