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Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Restaurants are slowly being allowed to reopen — with restrictions. In Australia, for instance, dining rooms can serve no more than 10 patrons at a time, and each customer needs at least 43 square feet of space.

That's resulted in Frank Angeletta, the owner of Five Dock Dining, putting cardboard cutouts of diners at tables that would otherwise be disconcertingly empty.

  • The Inn at Little Washington, an ultra-high-end Virginia restaurant, is doing something very similar.

The big picture: Restaurant economics have been upended, and many restaurants will never reopen. Those that do will be changed radically.

  • Space per diner will increase — and customers will be newly hyper-attuned to things like ventilation and ceiling height. Restaurants lucky enough to be able to offer outdoor seating will have a huge advantage.
  • Menus will become more limited, as kitchens become less crowded. Expect much more emphasis on daily specials.
  • Take-out and delivery will become central to the business, to the point at which dishes will only appear on the menu if they lend themselves to at-home dining.
  • Reservations will become scarcer than they used to be, and companies like Tock will allow restaurants to monetize them by selling different time slots at different prices.
  • Landlords will often be the deciding factor in terms of which restaurants survive and which do not. Momofuku founder David Chang is closing two locations that won't reduce rents, saying: "I understand their decisions. I don't respect their decisions."

The bottom line: Restaurants have been driving urban revitalization for the past 20 years. Now they might be at the forefront of urban decline. Their suburban counterparts, by contrast, are probably in much better shape.

Go deeper: Restaurants gingerly test how to return amid coronavirus

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — and will begin an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

The rebellion against Silicon Valley (the place)

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Telework's tax mess

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As teleworkers flit from city to city, they're creating a huge tax mess.

Why it matters: Our tax laws aren't built for telecommuting, and this new way of working could have dire implications for city and state budgets.

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