Restaurant industry: half of us could close in the next six months without help

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa (WHTM) — The owner of Annie Bailey’s, a popular restaurant in Lancaster, is waiting to reopen until next month.

Joshua Funk, who owns Annie Bailey’s, told abc27 News it made sense to temporarily close the restaurant at the start of December while dealing with restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s a shell game,” Funk said. “You have to try somethings and ratchet back your business in order to keep it alive.”

The restaurant industry in Pennsylvania is still dealing with the financial burden of COVID-19 mitigation efforts that started last March.

On Wednesday John Longstreet, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, told state lawmakers that about 45% of owners indicated it is unlikely they will still be in business in 60 days if there is no relief that comes their way.

“It’s hard to look just forward when you’re describing how hard the restaurant industry was hurt,” Longstreet said.

Restaurant owners say federal relief they got at the state of the pandemic has dried up and they claim the state hasn’t done enough to help.

Longstreet is now making more demands that relief goes to the restaurant industry.

“We’re asking the legislature in Harrisburg to devote $1 billion in what we’re anticipating of future Cares Act efforts to this industry specifically,” he said.

Other lawmakers are working to inject other relief as well, but Longstreet said in the meantime getting restaurants 100% open should be a goal.

“We’ve got to get the restaurants open at safe and sensible levels like many states around the country have done,” he said.

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