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New York Restaurant Association survey paints grim picture

The survey found that in New York the food service industry will lose $3.6 billion in sales in April after already losing $1.9 billion in sales in March.

NEW YORK — With many restaurants closed or relying on takeout orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State Restaurant Association released the results of a survey about economic impact on the food industry.

The results painted a grim picture of the industry in the Empire State.

"What we found unfortunately is that 80 percent of the employees in the industry, about 527,000 employees statewide, have either been furloughed or laid off from the restaurant industry," New York State Restaurant Association President Melissa Fleischut said.

The survey found that in New York the food service industry will lose $3.6 billion in sales in April after already losing $1.9 billion in sales in March.

With many restaurants either temporarily closed or relying on takeout orders to remain open, the survey found that many New York restaurants have already decided to close permanently.

"According to the survey, 4 percent of restaurants have already chosen to permanently close and will not reopen, and right now roughly half are closed not even doing delivery and takeout," Fleischut said.

Chuck Mauro is the owner of four restaurants in Western New York. He said he was forced to close his restaurants because takeout was not enough. 

However, the federal Paycheck Protection Program brought his businesses new hope.

"When PPP was announced, that gave us the opportunity to revisit opening the restaurants and try again with takeout, which are going to do next Wednesday at all four of our locations," Mauro said.

When Governor Andrew Cuomo gives permission for restaurants to reopen again, Mauro said they are making a plan to make sure that it is safe.

"... additional sanitation devices, gloves, masks where they need it, social distancing, table separation" he said.

SURVEY DETAILS:

The nationwide survey reached more than 6,500 restaurant operators, including 550 in New York, and was conducted April 10-16. Here are some of the findings:

  • Nationwide, the food service industry will lose more than $50 billion in sales in the month of April.
  • In New York, the food service industry will lose $3.6 billion in sales in April.
  • Nationwide, more than eight million employees have been laid off or furloughed since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. This represents a 66 percent reduction in staff from 12 million employees in February 2020.
  • In New York, more than 527,000 restaurant employees have been laid off or furloughed, which equates to 80 percent of the 659,500 employees that were working at New York’s eating and drinking establishments in February.
  • 93 percent of New York restaurant operators have been forced to lay off or furlough employees since the outbreak
  • In New York, operators report a 79 percent decline in sales from April 1 to April 10 when compared to last year.
  • In New York, 51 percent of operators will continue operating for takeout and delivery only, and the remaining 49% of operators say they will temporarily close their restaurants for the next 30 days or more.
  • 97 percent of restaurant operators report their sales are down compared to last year.
  • 4 percent of New York operators have permanently closed their restaurants since the outbreak, while 7 percent expect to permanently close their doors in the next 30 days.

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