8 million restaurant workers out of work, as industry seeks support – Business Insider – Business Insider

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  • 8 million restaurant workers have been laid off or furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with roughly two out of three employees out of a job, according to the National Restaurant Association
  • By the end of 2020, restaurants are expected to see $240 billion in losses. 
  • The National Restaurant Association is seeking the creation of a $240 billion recovery fund, focused solely on the restaurant industry.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The restaurant industry is seeking further government intervention, as insiders fear an apocalypse of mass closures. 

Eight million restaurant industry employees have already been laid off or furloughed, according to a survey by the National Restaurant Association. That means two out of three restaurant workers across the US are out of a job. 

The NRA’s survey of more than 6,500 restaurant operators across the US found that the restaurant and foodservice industry lost $30 billion in revenue in March and expects to lose an additional $50 billion in April. By the end of 2020, restaurants are expected to see $240 billion in losses. 

“The restaurant industry has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus mandates – suffering more sales and job losses than any other industry in the country,” Sean Kennedy, the NRA’s vice president of public affairs, wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders on Monday. “As past recoveries have proven, we will be one of the slowest to bounce back.” 

The NRA is seeking the creation of a $240 billion recovery fund, focused solely on the restaurant industry. The industry group also asked for adjustments to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including greater flexibility on repayment due to mandated closures, and the creation of a tax credit or grant program for restaurants that adhere to safety guidelines that can cut into revenue. 

According to the NRA, roughly 3% of the restaurants in the US — or 30,000 restaurants — have already shuttered. In the early April survey, an additional 5% of operators said they anticipated closing in the next 30 days, meaning that more than 50,000 restaurants could shut down permanently. 

In early April, UBS said that up to one in five restaurants in the US could close due to the coronavirus pandemic. Experts say that independent restaurants are particularly at risk, with many small businesses struggling to access PPP loans.

“There is going to be obviously closures that never come back. I continually say my heart goes out to these independents,” Raising Cane’s CEO Todd Graves told Business Insider on Thursday.  “These are restaurants that have soul; they have character, their crew members are incredible. … And some of them aren’t going to be able to reemerge.” 

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