ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Now to the surge in COVID cases in the South, which is taking a toll on multiple fronts. The delta variant is straining public health systems in a region with low vaccination rates. And as NPR's Debbie Elliott reports, it is also disrupting commerce.
DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: The Big Time Diner in Mobile, Ala., has been closed since July 23.
ROBERT MOMBERGER: We had 12 people test positive, so we shut down.
ELLIOTT: Robert Momberger owns the neighborhood restaurant that specializes in Southern sides and fresh Gulf seafood. He was sick, too.