Customers who arrived to pick up their Starbucks mobile drink orders discovered that the cafes were closed, while delivery drivers had to wait longer to pick up some McDonald’s Big Macs.
Restaurant service has slowed in the United States as Omicron, the newest COVID-19 form, sickens workers and drives others away, leaving many companies short-staffed.
Customers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, California, New Jersey, Florida, and New York complained on Twitter last week about temporary closures and decreased hours at Starbucks stores around the country.
On Jan. 3, the United States recorded about 1 million new coronavirus infections, the largest daily total of any country in the world and nearly double the previous week’s high.
Even before Omicron, the restaurant business has not yet regained all of the employment lost during the epidemic, and people are leaving at alarmingly high rates.
According to federal labor data released Friday, employment in foodservice and drinking establishments was over 653,000 jobs – or around 5.3 percent – below pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.