For Restaurants, Survival Rate of a COVID Shutdown Is Less Than 50%

Months after state and local governments threw communities into strict lockdowns, we’re finally seeing the long-term damage the protective measures are having on the economy.
According to data compiled by Yelp in late June, several industries were rocked by fallout from the pandemic.
The retail and restaurant sectors appear to be the most severely impacted.
For restaurants, closures peaked in March as leaders ordered restrictive lockdowns on businesses. Of the 23,981 eateries that have closed down since March, 53 percent of those closures “are indicated as permanent” as of June 15, according to Yelp.
“Restaurants run on thin margins and can sometimes take months or even years to break even,” the business ratings service explained, “resulting in this higher rate of permanent closures.”
The broad shutdowns contributed to record-breaking unemployment claims, compounding the economic devastation.
The restaurant industry wasn’t the only one to be decimated by the coronations pandemic.
While a lower overall percentage of shuttered retail businesses are now permanently closed, Yelp reported a total of 27,663 of restaurants that were open March 1 were marked closed — either temporarily or permanently — as of June 15.
As the data continues to pour in, there’s no telling how big of an impact lockdowns and closures will have on the American economy.
Although many businesses have endured, lower revenue and mounting rent make for an uncertain future.
With coronavirus infections blooming in several states, it’s likely that a new round of shutdowns could put even more businesses and jobs in jeopardy.
It will undoubtedly be easier for restaurants geared toward takeout and delivery to weather the storm than for places like upscale steakhouses, buffets and bars to stay in business.
Even more damning for many restaurants dependent on indoor dining, some of the latest evidence points to poor ventilation as a factor in the spread of COVID-19. This is a point that attentive health officials should take notice of.

Restaurants can be checked for closures on Yelp’s website.
With the pandemic far from over, governors and mayors still have plenty of opportunities to interfere with commerce in impacted communities.
We likely won’t see the full consequences of lockdowns until years from now. Economic damage, especially against those who have lost a business or a job, may be felt for years after closures.
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