Ron Smith has had dining rooms open for the past month at his 13 McDonald’s stores in the Las Vegas area. But on Monday, he decided it was best to reclose them as infections spike across the U.S.

“We were incorrect, meaning the country,” he said, on opening up certain areas this spring. “It’s disappointing.”

Smith said he’s not hopeful that they’ll be able to open again any time soon -- and that for some communities it may not be until next spring.

Despite closing his dining rooms, he’s keeping his full staff employed, though with fewer hours. He’s even hiring now. Applications are up, but turnover is high as people start to return to their past jobs.

Cooling Again
In states with a resurgence of the virus, the economy is beginning to cool again, following a rebound that saw the U.S. jobless rate unexpectedly drop last month to 13.3% from 14.7%.

Customer transactions at major restaurant chains had been increasing in recent weeks, even if they were still down when compared with last year. However, that momentum reversed itself in the week ended June 21 after infections rose in much of the South and West, according to market researcher NPD Group.

In Arizona, transactions at major chains had roared back and were down only 1% in mid-June from a year ago, but now they’re down 7%, NPD data show. Transactions slipped by 5 percentage points in both North Carolina and Nevada.

Restaurants and cafes that depend on office workers have been suffering. Google told employees Tuesday it was pushing back the date to reopen U.S. offices to Sept. 7, two months later than originally planned.

Many small cities have seen their downtowns flower with restaurants and nightclubs in recent years, and they fear that another round of shutdowns will roll back that progress. Lakeland, Florida, a city of about 110,000 an hour from Orlando, has a dozen restaurants and six bars that draw people at night, compared with a couple of each 20 years ago, said Julie Townsend, who runs the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority.

She worries that downtown will go to bed again at dusk if too many close. Jack McHugh, who manages one of downtown Lakeland’s mainstays, Molly McHugh’s Irish pub, will try to make do during the shutdown by selling large bottles of beer known as growlers.