Nearly one in six U.S. restaurants close permanently or on a long-term basis since pandemic declared

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Vancouverites are well aware of the growing list of eateries that have shut down since the World Health Organization declared the pandemic on March 11.

      Among the high-profile closures are the Porthole in Steveston, JamJar in the South Granville area, and the Pear Tree in Burnaby. But that's just a fraction of what’s occurred south of the border.

      The National Restaurant Association reported on September 14 that nearly one in six U.S. restaurants has shuttered their doors either permanently or on a temporary basis. That adds up to 100,000 dining establishments employing nearly three million workers.

      According to the this industry group, this sector could lose US$240 billion in sales by the end of the year.

      This data resulted from a survey of operators, who stated that in August, sales were down 34 percent on average.

      In Canada, the food-service industry generated more than $93 billion in sales last year. Restaurants Canada’s pre-pandemic forecast was that this would exceed $100 billion this year.

      However, the outbreak of COVID-19 has dealt a severe blow to the industry. In late August, the association suggested that revenues could fall across the country this year by between $21.7 billion and $44.8 billion.

      “Restaurants are likely to see further erosion in sales in the coming months with patio season-ending and possible consumer trepidation about indoor dining,” Restaurants Canada senior economist Chris Elliott said in an August 27 news release. “A second wave of confirmed COVID-19 cases would potentially lead to sharply lower sales.”

      On September 8, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that all bars, pubs, and restaurants must close by 11 p.m. to help stem the growing number of COVID-19 cases in B.C. In addition, these establishments must shut off all sales of alcohol by 10 p.m.