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Staggering data shows just how destructive COVID-related lockdowns have been on the restaurant industry
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Staggering data shows just how destructive COVID-related lockdowns have been on the restaurant industry

'... economic free fall as a result of mandated closures and capacity limits due to the coronavirus pandemic'

The National Restaurant Association published a report on Monday detailing the destructive consequences that coronavirus-related lockdowns have had on the restaurant industry nationwide.

According to data shared with congressional leadership, the NRA said that 110,000 restaurants — or about 17% of all eateries nationwide — have shut their doors long-term or permanently since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns.

"The vast majority of permanently closed restaurants were well-established businesses, and fixtures in their communities. On average these restaurants had been in business for 16 years, and 16% had been open for at least 30 years," the NRA said.

A restaurant in Washington, D.C., empty because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

In fact, the NRA found that 87% of full-service restaurants reported, on average, a 36% drop in revenue during the pandemic, while revenue is projected to continue tanking for at least the next three months.

But the problems don't end there. Because restaurants have spent money modifying their business plans to accommodate take-out business and indoor dining regulations, restaurants told the NRA that expenditures are actually, on average, greater than in pre-pandemic times.

"For nearly nine months, restaurants—our nation's second-largest private sector employer—have been in an economic free fall as a result of mandated closures and capacity limits due to the coronavirus pandemic," the letter to congressional leadership read.

In the letter, Sean Kennedy, the NRA's vice president for public affairs, implored Congress to pass economic relief for the restaurant industry.

"What these findings make clear is that more than 500,000 restaurants of every business type— franchise, chain, and independent—are in an unprecedented economic decline," Kennedy wrote. "And for every month that passes without a solution from Congress, thousands more restaurants across the country will close their doors for good."

Congressional inaction — stymied by House Democrats wanting to spend trillions of dollars on a second economic relief package — has unfortunately led to the closure of at least 10,000 additional restaurants over the last several months, Kennedy said.

"In short, the restaurant industry simply cannot wait for relief any longer. Efforts in Washington to find the 'perfect' solution are laudable, but the lack of progress in the meantime has led too many operators to give up on the government and close down for good," he wrote. "Since our last update to you, less than three months ago, an additional 10,000 restaurants have closed nationwide."

Anything else?

As leaders in mostly Democrat-controlled states continue to enact business-killing restrictions, those same leaders are apparently handing out passes to industries like Hollywood.

In fact, in a video that went viral over the weekend, a Los Angeles-area restaurant owner — who is currently prohibited from operating indoor and outdoor dining — showed that a TV production crew was given a pass by the city to operate outdoor dining tents for their production crew. Those tents were just feet away from her restaurant.

"I'm losing everything. Everything I own is being taken away from me and they set up a movie company right next to my outdoor patio, which is right over here. And people wonder why I'm protesting and why I have had enough," the business owner, Angela Marsden, said.

She later continued, "Mayor Garcetti and Gavin Newsom is [sic] responsible for every single person that doesn't have unemployment, that does not have a job, and all the businesses that are going under."

In response, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti claimed to have sympathy for struggling businesses in his city — but in the same breath called the severe restrictions "necessary."

"My heart goes out to Ms. Marsden and the workers at the Pineapple Hill Saloon who have to comply with state and county public health restrictions that close outdoor dining," Garcetti told the New York Times. "No one likes these restrictions, but I do support them as our hospital ICU beds fill to capacity and cases have increased by 500%. We must stop this virus before it kills thousands of more Angelenos."

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