Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s Hospitality in the News topic: how will changes to mask mandates impact the hospitality industry?
Recently 11 states announced changes to their mask mandates, with many removing the requirement completely from public spaces regardless of vaccination status. By March 31, only California, Washington, and Hawaii will have mask requirements in place. (Though, some local municipalities continue to battle over mask mandates in schools.)
With these changes in effect, it’s important to know how they’ll impact the hospitality industry, especially with summer only a few short months away. Here are the areas we think will have the biggest impact from mask and vaccine requirements being removed:
When we last reported on consumer sentiment in October, the overall feeling reflected the following:
- Pandemic-related drivers have dropped in importance when consumers are tasked with deciding where to dine.
- Easy to use hospitality technology is a must for customers.
- Word-of-mouth plays a huge part in consumers’ decisions.
Updates to the mask and vaccine requirements likely won’t impact customers need for hospitality technology. But the other points will be influenced depending on how the individual consumer feels about the changes in mandates. For example, a customer who feels more comfortable wearing a mask might continue to seek out establishments (dining or otherwise) that verify vaccination status and suggest the use of masks. On the other hand, customers who wanted to be rid of the mandates may dine out in larger numbers now that the changes are in effect. Either situation can have a significant change on word-of-mouth referrals and your brand reputation.
When we started feeling the effects of the pandemic in March 2020, delivery and take-out has been on the rise as a safer option for enjoying restaurant meals. As we head into the warmer months, will we see more people opting for dine-in with the removal of mask mandates? Or will consumers continue to choose lower contact options because of the change in safety requirements? Only time will tell.
Because mask and vaccine requirements have differed from state to state, folks traveling throughout the country were having different experiences when visiting non-local restaurants and bars. Now that mask mandates have been removed in all but three states, there’s more consistency when traveling. This will likely lead to increased tourists in major cities and other popular travel locations.
At this point it’s difficult to determine the exact impact of the recent changes to mask mandates. We can anticipate a busier spring/summer season than the past two years as more and more people return to dining out. Other factors like hiring and employee retention might be impacted. But like consumer sentiment, this will depend on the individual’s feelings about mask and vaccine requirements. Be sure to stay up to date with all thing’s restaurant related in the Hospitality in the News series.
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