(WYTV) – Waffle House restaurants are famous for trying open around the clock, every day of the year, no matter the emergency.
Waffle House will try to stay open. They’ll open without power; even without water. They’ll use generators to turn the lights on and can make coffee with bottled water.
It’s reputation for that is so strong the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses the restaurants to measure weather damage, calling it the Waffle House Index.
Now, for the first time, FEMA is using this index to measure the coronavirus pandemic. A former FEMA director under President Barrack Obama, Craig Fugate, created the index. He designed it on how quickly Waffle Houses are able to get back in business following a disaster.
As Fugate told the New York Times in 2012, “It’s a shorthand for us to get in there and quickly get a snapshot.”
“Is the Waffle House open? Everything normal there?” It’s a simple color code.
If the local Waffle House is serving a full menu, it’s green.
If the restaurant has no power, but is still open and serving a limited, grill only menu, it’s yellow.
Red means the restaurant is closed and the coronavirus outbreak is the first time FEMA has used the index for something not having to do with the weather and that’s what the index is now, Red.
1,500 Waffle Houses remain open across the country, but some 400 are closed the restaurants in Howland and Hubbard are closed, Girard is open.