KEY POINTS

  • Restaurants are hard-hit by the pandemic
  • A recent survey revealed that more than 50% of US restaurants shut down operations
  • Retail stores, salons, and gyms are also badly hit 

Retail shops and restaurants were among those hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. With social distancing and other measures in place, they are relying on takeout, delivery, and curbside pickups to cope with their operating expenses.

More Than Half Closed Down

A new Yelp report found that more than 50% of US restaurants have shut their doors, and more are on the brink of closing down for good. Yelp is a social networking platform that allows users to rate and post reviews about businesses. They also run Yelp Reservations, an online reservation service.

According to the platform, 23,981 restaurants listed on their site have ceased operating at some point during the health crisis, and 53% of these have already decided to shut down for good. This figure is higher compared to other sectors of the service industry. In an interview with Today.com, Yelp officials said its data is “representative” of all restaurants in America. Meanwhile, retail stores stand to lose 35% of their locations, and it is expected that 24% of beauty salons will follow the same path. It was also reported that 25% of gyms are not planning to resume operations.

more than 50% of restaurants in the US have shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic more than 50% of restaurants in the US have shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic Photo: Kaique Rocha - Pexels

Tens Of Thousands

Vanessa Sink, the National Restaurant Association spokesperson, on the other hand, said that 3% of restaurants across the US had closed permanently. This translates to around 20,000 closures based on data made available by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

She also reveals that the full scope of the closures will not be known until official statistics are released a couple of months from now. “The association projects the final number will be in the tens of thousands,” Sink added.

Diners May Not Be Ready

Despite the financial hardships, restaurant owners are a bit reluctant to return to business as usual. Michael Schall, a Brooklyn restaurateur, told The Post that reopening dining rooms now may not be the best of ideas. He also said that customers are not ready to stay inside the dining rooms. “I don’t know if people will want to come back and eat inside a restaurant,” he added.

Even if some diners are willing to risk it, the Brooklyn restaurateur is prioritizing the health of his staff over potential income. Schall admitted, however, he is still undecided whether he wanted people inside the restaurant. For now, he considers the inside space of his restaurant as his staff’s safe place.