Coronavirus pandemic could force 1 in 4 DC-area restaurants to close

“If you look at a grouping of 100 restaurants, it is very likely that 25 of those restaurants will not have the capability to reopen as we enter a recovery period,” one expert said. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/franz12)

There’s a chance your favorite local restaurant could fall victim to the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

As many as 1 in 4 D.C.-area restaurants may not be able to open back up after the pandemic passes, according to Kathy Hollinger, president and CEO of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.

“If you look at a grouping of 100 restaurants, it is very likely that 25 of those restaurants will not have the capability to reopen as we enter a recovery period,” she said.

Hollinger said the projection is based on information from the group’s surveyed members, lessons from significant events from the past and natural attrition.

Other data from the group paints a bleak picture as well.

Hollinger said restaurants that continue to operate in some form are taking in, at best, 30% of what they normally would in sales, and that 92% of the food service employee base had been let go.

She said now is the time to support restaurants offering delivery and curbside pickup.

“Think about yourself, your family, or friends in need or people in need,” Hollinger said. “You can buy a meal and send it to someone; you can buy a gift card and save it for later.”


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