Keep two yards between you and fellow drinkers today, whether enjoying beer or hard seltzer.

As we hit the one-year mark on the global pandemic, marked by unprecedented decline in on-premise consumption, bars and restaurants are seeing a rapid rise in traffic.

Data from the OpenTable network, which specifically focuses on seated diner traffic, shows rapid increases in bookings. Leaders in 14-day activity leading up to March 15, 2021, in the US are New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Alabama. The data of restaurants open for online restaurant reservations suggests that the increase is not related to geography or political persuasion.

New Mexico has shown a 13.3% increase in the rolling 14-day data of restaurants accepting reservations.

Black Box Intelligence said on Tuesday that restaurants are showing recovery. In fact, for the week ending March 7, restaurants posted their 3rd best week in a year. This is significant as it includes holiday occasions like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. It also was in absence of the stimulus check impacts, each of which have shown spikes in traffic.

Data from the National Restaurant Association is also positive, albeit not as timely. The trade group reports that January traffic at all restaurants was up 0.5% in January. The figures from the NRA are based on its Restaurant Performance Index (RPI), which blends several metrics to create an industry health composite score.

The temptation to venture out will be irresistible to some today. Soon we’ll be able to stand close to each other, perhaps the distance only of a slim 12 ounce can of hard seltzer!

Aiden Gentson