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CDC reports on-premise dining leads to higher COVID-19 cases plus four other stories you may have missed.

5 Things: New CDC study links on-premise dining to higher COVID-19 rates and mask mandates to lower infection rates

Plus Arizona reopens to 100% capacity, the Texas Restaurant Association releases mask guidelines and more news you may have missed last week

Every week, Restaurant Hospitality gathers news for independent restaurants you may have missed.

Here’s your list for the week of March 8:

  1. Arizona joins the growing list of states to lift indoor dining capacity limits

In a tweet on Friday, March 5, Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona announced that all capacity limits would be lifted throughout the state as part of an executive order, effective immediately. While social distancing and mask mandates will remain in effect, all indoor dining capacity restrictions were immediately lifted Friday afternoon.

Arizona joins a slew of states that lifted indoor dining capacity limits including Massachusetts and Texas (which is scheduled to reopen with no restrictions on March 10).

  1. Texas Restaurant Association releases mask guidelines in the wake of Gov. Greg Abbott’s reopening of the state

The Texas Restaurant Association issued mask guidelines after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that all restrictions for the state — including capacity limits and the mask mandate — would be lifted on March 10.

“In keeping with the public health guidance and best practices,” the association said Thursday, “our updated Texas Restaurant Promise includes a face-covering requirement for employees and encourages guests to wear a face covering when they are not seated at their table.”

Abbott lifted restrictions despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which urged states to be cautious in rolling back restrictions amid fear of a fourth wave of COVID-19.

Read more: Texas Restaurant Association updates COVID-19 mask guidelines

  1. National Restaurant Association report shows 30% of operators don’t expect business to return to normal for at least one year

In a survey from the National Restaurant Association Research Group, nearly 30% of restaurant operators said they do not expect business to return to normal for at least a year and 32% believe it will take seven to 12 months for business to return to pre-pandemic levels.

About 14% of the 3,000 restaurant operators surveyed at the end of February said they would be closed in three months without financial relief from the government.

Additionally, independent full-service restaurant operators reported sales declines of 36% in January compared with a year ago. Indie limited-service operators said sales were down 25% for the same period, according to survey respondents.

Read more: Nearly 30% of restaurant operators say business won't return to normal for at least a year

  1. Women’s Foodservice Forum CEO: Women have been adversely affected by the pandemic

Therese Gearhart sat down with Nation’s Restaurant News to discuss the status of women in the workforce during the pandemic and the results were not good. Gearhart and WFF have reported that women have seen unique challenges of raising a family while working from home and caring for children who are home-schooling. As a result, the industry group’s analysis showed that women have been dropping out of the workforce in larger numbers than men and that doesn’t include the women who have lost jobs during the pandemic — a number much higher than the men laid off during the same period.

Gearhart also explains how women can be successful in the workplace on this podcast.

Listen here: Women’s Foodservice Forum president and CEO Therese Gearhart on how women leaders have been adversely affected by the pandemic

  1. CDC reports on-premise dining leads to higher COVID-19 cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study on Friday about COVID-19 infection rates as states changes restrictions from March to December 2020. According to the study, allowing on-premise dining was linked to a 0.9, 1.2, and 1.1 percentage point increase in the growth rate of daily cases 41-100 days after implementation, and daily death rates rose 2.2 and 3 percentage points 61-100 days after implementation.

The study also found a correlation between mask mandates and lower infection rates and death due to COVID-19.

Read more: New CDC study finds that on-premises restaurant dining leads to rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths

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