They nevertheless scheduled them. Amtrak's lack of protection equipment is certainly an issue, but a separate one, not new, and not connected to the pandemic.Amtrak DID NOT have enough SSL's prior to the pandemic. In the last few years before the pandemic I rode Southwest Chief's, California Zephyrs and Empire Builders that used substitute Cross Country Cafes when there was a problem with the regular SSL. There were no available SSL's for fill that need.
In point of fact, such substitutions were temporary and Sightseers were not officially withdrawn from any route that had them. The cars were repaired and returned to service.
The issue to me is, having run a reduced schedule for 8 months with the opportunity to catch up on maintainence while service was down and not as many cars had to be on the road, why are so many cars bad ordered now? The whole existing fleet of SSLs ought to be in as good a shape as possible and ready to roll. They're obviously not.