What will US dining activity be in August 2020?

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Question

COVID-19 has caused substantial declines in indoor dining in the US. Starting in March, many states closed restaurants altogether. As of July, most have allowed restaurants to re-open, with varying levels of restrictions. The Washington Post catalogues the development of statewide restrictions on restaurants and other businesses here.

In the early stage of the pandemic, data showed that restaurant activity in many states dropped substantially before restrictions were imposed. As lockdowns have eased, dining levels have remained well below their normal levels. The pandemic is expected to have lasting impacts on the US restaurant industry. Notable bankruptcies so far include the parent company of Chuck-E-Cheese, and CraftWorks Holdings, who operated several casual dining chains.

Data

OpenTable provides daily data on restaurant activity in the US.

Question

In August 2020, what will be the average year-on-year change in seated diners from online, phone and walk-in reservations, in the United States?

Resolution

The question will resolve on the basis of a simple mean of values in the series “Seated diners from online, phone, and walk-in reservations” from August 1st–31st inclusive, in the United States. Note that this is the series covering all restaurants — not just those open for reservations.

The question will resolve as ambiguous if OpenTable fails to provide a full series for the month of August. If OpenTable changes their methodology, admins will determine if the change is substantial enough to warrant an ambiguous resolution.

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