The owner of a Chicago meat supplier says he has up to $30,000 worth of meat piling up in his freezers as COVID-19 kills restaurant demand, report says

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The owner of a Chicago meat supplier says he has up to $30,000 worth of meat piling up in his freezers as COVID-19 kills restaurant demand, report says
A Chicago meat firm has $30,000 worth of meat stored in freezers after the Omicron variant caused order cancellations.Getty Images
  • A meat supplier told Fox the company has up to $30,000 of meat stocked in freezers.
  • The Omicron variant has deterred guests from eating at restaurants, the owner said.
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A Chicago meat supplier has up to $30,000 worth of product stocked in freezers because of COVID-19's impact on the hospitality industry, Fox Business reported Sunday.

Andrew Neva, owner of the Northwest Meat Company in Chicago, told Fox that steakhouses have canceled their orders with his firm as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has kept guests away from restaurants.

Neva told Fox that he bought about between $25,000 and $30,000 worth of meat in October — before the Omicron variant hit the US — when restaurant demand was much higher.

When the Omicron variant started spreading late last year, high-end steakhouses, which are popular settings for special events during the holidays, scrapped their orders with Northwest Meat Company because guests were cancelling bookings, Neva told Fox.

"Any of the product I bought for that high-end market is still on my shelf," he told Fox, adding "as a result, now I'm sitting on all this product that I still haven't gotten paid on."

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Neva told Insider that none of the meat would go to waste and would be sold over the next month by Valentine's Day.

"I bought this product back in October… expecting demand to be strong, however that turned out not to be the case when the omicron variant crashed the party," he told Insider.

Neva told Fox that inflation and winter storms across the northeast have also possibly played a role in the meat order cancellations.

The pandemic has forced many restaurants and stores to limit services and cut opening hours as rising numbers of COVID-19 cases lead to staff shortages.

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