Study: Pandemic could wipe out half of Indiana’s restaurants

The coronavirus pandemic could end up wiping out half of Indiana’s restaurants.

One in five restaurants in Indiana have already closed, two-to-four times the normal rate. A National Restaurant Association survey finds another third expect to go under by June unless there’s a second round of federal help. The survey says they’ve already cut one-sixth of their jobs in the last two months.

Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association president Patrick Tamm says the first relief bill helped many restaurants stay afloat. He praises Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett for earmarking 11-million dollars of the city’s federal money for rent and mortgage assistance for restaurants. Tamm says nearly two-thirds of restaurants’ expenses are overhead costs they have to pay whether they’re packed or empty, with rent and mortgage payments the biggest chunk.

But Tamm says the federal help amounted to two months of help for a crisis that’s lasted eight months so far. He says the restaurant business has never really recovered since the start of the pandemic. Even though state capacity limits on restaurants and other businesses have been lifted, he says they’re still effectively capped at half capacity because of the need for social distancing. And the skyrocketing spread of coronavirus is prompting many customers to just stay home.

Tamm says business has been noticeably declining over the last month as winter delivers a one-two punch. Customers have taken note as the virus spirals to new highs — Indiana has averaged seven-thousand new cases a day over the last week, with health experts predicting the numbers will continue to increase. And the arrival of cold weather reduces the feasibility of safer outdoor dining. A second Indianapolis grant program offered help to restaurants to install heaters, and Tamm says some restaurants have gotten creative, constructing igloos or installing giant storage pods in their parking lots. But Tamm says when the temperature dips below a certain point, those measures aren’t enough to coax people out of their houses.

Tamm says pizza, quick-service and fast-casual restaurants have weathered the pandemic with drive-thru and takeout service. But he says family dining and independent upscale restaurants are getting hammered by both the general reluctance to eat out and the cancellation of office holiday parties, concerts, and other events that draw visitors to Indiana’s downtowns.

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Lewis December 10, 2020 at 3:58 pm

Self inflicted self destruction brought about by fear, courtesy of the main stream media as well as members of the swamp. What a completely weak society.

Lahey, Jim December 12, 2020 at 9:14 am

yes the only thing that can save us is more stimulus money! all hail the wonderful saving grace of the federal government and our taxpayer money!

Charles U Farley December 14, 2020 at 1:02 pm

The second step to enacting a socialist utopia is to make sure everyone depends on the government to survive, so you have to decimate the job market.

The first step is to take all the guns, since their socialist utopia cannot be imposed on an armed populace.

Somehow they can’t even get the order of steps in their coup right, but we’re supposed to trust their economic vision? I think not.


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