Waffle House CEO claims zero evidence of coronavirus spread in chain’s restaurants
According to Georgia’s Waffle House CEO Walter Ehmer, there have been zero links to coronavirus spread across any of Waffle House’s 2,100 U.S. locations. Ehmer is saying that the American people are being unnecessarily harmed since the heavy-handed response by state officials mandating lockdowns, closing dining rooms, and restricting restaurants does not match the actuality of what is occurring out there.
“We have proven, over these nine months, we have zero evidence of any spread being traced back to our restaurants for our people or our customers,” Ehmer said. “We’ve traced back all of our infections… and it all traces back to something away from the restaurant.”
“We are disproportionately hurting American people who are wanting to work for no data and no science that ties back to that being a dangerous place,” he added.
Ehmer has spoken with other restaurant CEOs and they report the same thing… the spread of COVID-19 is not being traced back to their dining rooms either.
Meanwhile, employees and customers are ready to return to restaurants, Ehmer stated, especially those who rely on open, full-capacity dining rooms to make a living.
“Shutting down restaurant dining rooms virtually has no impact on reducing the spread. And what it does have is a certain devastating impact on the millions of people in this industry that look to restaurants to provide their livelihood… and at this time of year to buy Christmas presents for their kids,” he said.
At the beginning of the pandemic in March, Waffle House closed thousands of locations and designated some as takeout only. Waffle House closed down due to the pandemic in a number of states, including Mississippi, Florida, and Illinois. They were labeled “temporarily closed.” However, in recent months, those restaurants have returned to full service, with restrictions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in September that adults who tested positive for coronavirus were about twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than those who tested negative. Those statistics do not account for all restaurants according to Ehmer and are not representative of the industry.
In metro Atlanta, dozens of restaurants have closed down due to the COVID-19 crisis, including Ammazza in Decatur, Amsterdam Cafe, Genki Noodles and Sushi, and many more. Restaurant owners have reached out for help with things such as rent and utility bills with business traffic slowing due to diners’ concerns about the coronavirus.
Ehmer told Fox News the impact on workers and potential customers will continue whether dining areas are closed or not, so efforts should be made to encourage dining and reopen restaurants to full capacity.
“Shutting down restaurant dining rooms virtually has no impact on reducing the spread. And what it does have is a certain devastating impact on the millions of people in this industry that look to restaurants to provide their livelihood … and at this time of year to buy Christmas presents for their kids,” he said.