Louisiana Restaurant Association President Stan Harris commended the move to Phase Three but told Talk Louisiana listeners this week they still anticipate 25 to 50 percent of all state restaurants will close permanently due to COVID.

Harris said a national survey shows 58 percent of US adults know a local restaurant that’s closed its doors for good due to the pandemic. He says revenue losses are significant.

“What we saw from August is that year over year our sales are down over 35 percent and our restaurants are expected nationally to lose over 240 billion dollars in revenue,” said Harris.

The state’s move to Phase Three allowed restaurants to increase indoor dining capacity to 75 percent, but Harris noted it now bans those businesses from serving alcohol after 10 PM.

Harris said alongside the large amounts of lost revenue they’re seeing higher operating costs.

“Because of labor and the cost to do all of the other things we have to do to meet the standardization of keeping our places COVID-safe,” said Harris.

Harris says staffing is still an issue for most restaurants, although recent reductions in unemployment benefits could force more people back to work.

“Restaurants are seeing staffing levels at about 70 percent of what they need to menus are shrunk, that also impacts revenue,” said Harris.

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