Across the country, the service industry has felt the consequences of the coronavirus more severely than most. Through the beginning of May, more than 8 million restaurant jobs were lost. While cities and regions of all sizes have felt the strain, social distancing and business restrictions have affected small businesses in towns reliant on tourism spending particularly harshly. One of these towns is Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville, a city located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, is known for its beautiful mountain views, tourist attractions, and incredibly robust brewery scene.
According to IMPLAN data, the food service industry supports over 18,000 jobs, making it the largest employment sector in the Asheville MSA. When COVID-19 hit and businesses began closing up shop for indeterminate periods of time, it left many uncertain of how they could continue operating. Gathering restrictions and event cancellations posed a unique threat to the more than 100 food trucks that operate in and around Asheville.