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Many Indiana restaurants struggling to survive during pandemic

(File Photo/Federated Media)

Nearly half of Hoosier restaurants say they will not be open in six months, if restrictions keep them operating below their normal capacity, says a new survey from the National Restaurant Assoc. But, some restrictions have been lifted for 89 counties, and you are being encouraged to do your part.

“Central business districts are hit hard, not just in downtown Indianapolis, but also Ft. Wayne, Evansville, South Bend and other places because all the cultural amenities, attractions and so forth, and offices are not being utilized as they have been in the past, said Patrick Tamm, the CEO of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Assoc., talking to Inside Indiana Business.

But, Tamm said you can help change the trajectory.

“I would encourage people to try and get back to their offices, just for a couple of days a week. Reintroduce yourself to your dry cleaner, as well as your local restaurant,” he said.

That’s not as easy to do in at least three counties, which are still under tight restrictions on how many people can be inside restaurants, and that includes Marion County, Monro, and Tippencanoe.

“We’ve been forecasting the next six months as being harder than the last six months,” said Tamm. “It’s very challenging not just for owners, but more importantly and most importantly, the hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers that we used to employ.”

Tamm said that people who own restaurants often face financial ruin that goes beyond their business life, if their restaurant fails.

“They’re financed off credit cards, personal loans, their homes are mortgaged into their businesses. When a business fails in the hospitality industry, it often times means complete and utter financial ruin,” he said.

Tamm said he believes the federal government can do more to help, and supports the RESTART Act, which was authored by Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), which would, among other provisions, strengthen the Paycheck Protection Program, for business trying to keep people employed.

“We’ve had six months of government-ordered shutdowns in a global pandemic, which we understand, but we’ve only seen eight weeks of relief.”

Tamm said fixing that imbalance could help many Hoosiers.

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