The final weeks of June and early half of July ushered in a new era of the pandemic, as southern and western states that had largely evaded the worst of Covid-19 became new virus hotspots. The rising number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations forced many states to order restaurants shutter their dining rooms – again – and meant fewer drivers on the road as other businesses wound down operations.
Despite the setback, Paytronix data shows that the restaurant industry’s recovery has slowed, but not reversed. In late March and into early April, restaurant sales dropped to 30% of pre-COVID levels. Starting in the middle of April we saw sales recover at a rate of 0.4% – 0.5% per day, reaching 70% of pre-COVID levels by the July 4th weekend. That weekend saw reduced sales as is typical for a holiday weekend, and since then we have seen sales continue at about 70% of pre-COVID levels. The gains made since the initial shutdown have not been erased since the new surge began.
Meanwhile, c-stores have seen in-store spend return to pre-Covid levels since the summer season began, just after Memorial Day. Overall visits and fuel sales have stagnated at about 87% of their pre-Covid levels, suggesting that those who are still frequenting the stores are spending more than usual – perhaps stocking up on essentials to put off a trip to the grocery store.