In December 2019, the unemployment rate for Leisure and Hospitality was 5%. A year later, that number tripled to 16.7%. While it's not certain whether restaurants that have closed shortened the curve for COVID, it is certain that it displaced millions of workers that depend on the restaurants and taprooms being open to be able to make an income.
Restaurants have ups and downs like most businesses and like most businesses, they rely on the ups to carry them through the downs. What COVID did was exploit the restaurants that were barely hanging on, forcing them to call it quits when the opportunity to make money was taken from them. What some people may not know, that's common knowledge in hospitality, is January and February are traditionally slower months, especially in the colder regions of the US. While they're trying to make it through those lean months, they know they have March right around the corner, where you have the combination of March Madness and St. Patrick's Day to carry you through to the spring/ summer rush.