DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa restaurant industry is feeling cautiously optimistic after the United States Senate passed the trillion-dollar Covid Relief Package.
“We’ve been trying to get since the very first stimulus, and we’re excited because it passed this time and we need it, we absolutely need it,” said Jessica Dunker, the President, and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association.
The relief package includes providing funds that would cover a restaurant’s payroll costs, rent assistance, protective equipment, and other pandemic-related costs.
“Well, initially we laid off everybody from all the restaurants, so somewhere around 600 people,” Paul Rottenberg, the President Orchestrate Hospitality.
“Today, our restaurants are generally running at about 40 to 50% less volume than what we had before COVID.”
Restaurants statewide have felt the impact of the pandemic.
“We have lost about 27,000 jobs in our industry. We are under 33% of our revenue is down, so that’s about $1.4 billion that we had projected we would take in and did not take in and 2020,” said Bunker.
“But with the aid, that’s being given to us. We’re hoping that we might be able to keep our permanent closure rate closer to 15% than 20. And that is the first time we’ve been able even to hope that that might be possible.”
With the relief package’s passage, owners are looking forward to doing what they do best, serving customers.
“Everything helps, but I think I can speak for most if not all restaurant tours we’d all like to get back to making our money-making people happy and not filling out forms for the government,” said Rottenberg.