Dining halls across the country have been hit hard by new regulations designed to prevent them from turning away business customers who are sick and are seeking medical treatment.
But the industry is struggling to get through the crisis as the government moves to take more control over who can work in restaurants.
A recent study found that the average American restaurant worker is already under federal health regulations that require them to wear face masks and undergo regular testing for STDs.
And in some cases, restaurants may even be required to hire more staff members to help keep the lines moving.
As it stands, there are currently no federal guidelines to help restaurants meet the health standards.
So the business community has struggled to come up with the right solutions to help them survive.
It’s been a tough year for the industry, said Amy Ehrlich, a spokeswoman for the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a labor union that represents restaurant workers.
“The government is not doing a very good job of getting to the bottom of this,” she said.
Ehrleson said some restaurants are turning to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to find ways to reduce the risk of contracting the deadly virus.
The government will allow restaurants to offer their employees up to two free flu shots a month if they have a high-risk employee or a full-time employee who is currently sick, or if they’ve received a flu vaccine.
That is a big deal for some small businesses that can’t afford to hire full-timers or those who are not in good health, said David J. Warshaw, a senior vice president at the food and beverage trade group National Restaurant Association.
Some large chains have decided to offer employees a flu shot at the beginning of the month in an effort to reduce risk.
But for many small and mid-size restaurants, the vaccine has proven to be too expensive.
The Food and Drug Administration has also issued new guidelines for how much to charge for the flu shot and what kind of insurance cover you need to be eligible.
Some smaller restaurants, like restaurants and hotels, have decided not to offer the vaccine and have set up their own insurance plans, according to a survey by the Associated Press.
The cost to insure people who work in small- and mid to large-scale restaurants will be about $200 a month for an individual, and $700 a month in a group, according the AP.
But many small restaurants are charging customers more because of the cost of the vaccine, and are offering more sick time.
While many businesses have made changes, some have struggled to adapt to the new requirements, said Kevin F. Schofield, an economist at the Consumer Federation of America.
For example, some large chains are offering employees sick time for free if they’re not sick or are in good physical condition, but it’s not clear that those incentives will be enough to attract customers, Schofoldsons survey found.
The FDA’s new rules also apply to health-care providers who offer the flu vaccine and to workers who have been treated for a flu infection, and many of those workers have to get a flu vaccination before they can work.
And many employers don’t have enough workers to meet the new limits, said Jessica C. Schaffer, a health care economist at Georgetown University.
Even some small restaurants, including restaurants and bars, are turning down new jobs because of lack of qualified staff, said Schaffer.
The number of small-scale restaurant jobs has dropped by more than 50 percent in the last decade, and it will take several years before they fully recover, Schaffer said.