PHOENIX – The coronavirus has taken its toll on business across the United States, and Arizona restaurants have also taken some of the hits.
The Arizona Restaurant Association estimates that 235,000 Arizona residents were employed by the industry at the start of the year.
About 70 to 80% of restaurant workers have been laid off and / or on leave following Governor Doug Ducey’s March 30 decree that shut down non-essential businesses in a bid to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
It is estimated that approximately 165,000 to 180,000 employees lost their income throughout Arizona as a result.
“2020 is possibly the biggest challenge the Arizona restaurant industry has faced for generations to come,” said Dan Bogert, chief operating officer of the Arizona Restaurant Association. KTAR News 92.3 FM Tuesday.
Despite the hardships caused by COVID-19, the industry has proven to be resilient.
To date, the industry has continued to rebound and is currently down about 15-20% of its original employee count.
In 2019, the industry in Arizona was estimated at $ 13.4 billion. To date, the Arizona Restaurant Association says the industry is down about 20% from last year, which means about $ 2.7 billion in revenue has been lost.
This loss of revenue has resulted in the permanent closure of 1,000 to 1,200 restaurants in Arizona to date.
Bogert believes the newly signed coronavirus relief bill should breathe new life into the state’s industry with additional funding. Extended patios, which will increase restaurant capacity, are expected to be on their way with additional funding made available to Ducey earlier this month.
Bogert added that the industry still needs local support.
“Please go out and visit your favorite restaurant,” Bogert added. “If you don’t feel comfortable eating out, order take out. Anything you can help.