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Bill and Melinda Gates speak at a United Kingdom government event (Photo: Russell Watkins / Flickr)

December 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Americans should be prepared to accept not returning to restaurants until well into the new year, software giant and left-wing philanthropist Bill Gates claimed over the weekend.

“Bars and restaurants—in most of the country—will be closed as we go into this wave, and I think, sadly, that’s appropriate,” the Microsoft founder claimed Sunday in an interview with CNN. He predicted Americans might regain a semblance of normalcy around summer 2021, “but even through early 2022, unless we help other countries get rid of this disease, and we get high vaccination rates in our country, the risk of reintroduction will be there and, of course, the global economy will be slowed down, which hurts America economically in a pretty dramatic way.”

That isn’t sitting well with many Americans affected by COVID-19 lockdowns, who note that the billionaire Gates (who enjoys media status as an authority on the virus despite having no medical expertise) need not worry about being personally affected by government ordering his source of livelihood to shut down.

Fox Business notes that the National Restaurant Association puts the number of restaurants closed by the pandemic response at more than 100,000, with 10,000 just in the last three months. 87% of full-service restaurants report experiencing a 36% drop in sales, with majorities expecting things to get worse over the winter, including forced layoffs and furloughs of workers.

In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis (whose name has been floated as a potential 2024 presidential candidate) has made a point of modeling the opposite approach.

“Most of the contact tracing that's been done has restaurants very low in terms of where these infections can be traced to,” DeSantis, who has largely resisted calls to lock down the state, said Tuesday at a press conference. “The vast, vast majority [of coronavirus cases] are occurring in people's homes, particularly if you have people getting together.”

“Some may want to shut you down, we want to pull you up,” the governor told restaurant owners. “We've got your back, if you're somebody who's a waitress or a cook or you [have] a family-owned business. You are an important part of our state.”

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