Despite amended public health order, the restaurant industry still continues to suffer | KOB 4

Despite amended public health order, the restaurant industry still continues to suffer

Nathan O'Neal
Updated: August 31, 2020 10:26 PM
Created: August 31, 2020 09:14 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —While most New Mexico restaurants were allowed to open their doors for limited indoor dining over the weekend, the industry as a whole is still suffering.

“It's not enough for restaurants to survive but it's a reprieve,” said Carol Wight, CEO of the New Mexico Restaurant Association.

Wight said it’s difficult to track the exact number of businesses that have closed due to COVID-19.

On Monday, officials with the state tourism department told lawmakers that more than 23,000 restaurant employees are out of a job.

“We just came out with the August numbers for the state and accommodation and food services has lost $382 million and that's gross receipts by the entire industry and that's just devastating—that's a 31 percent loss,” Wight said.

In Texas, the restaurant association estimates 30% of restaurants could be gone by the end of the year, but Wight worries it could be even worse for New Mexico.

“Remember that most restaurants have had seating capacity of at least 50 percent if not more and we've had none until very recently, so it could be even more devastating for New Mexico restaurants,” she said.

As federal lawmakers continue debates over passing another stimulus package, Wight knows there are thousands of restaurants in New Mexico that are desperate for help.

“Just help. Passing something is better than nothing and our restaurants are desperate. We've been closed down, which many other states have not been  and therefore we absolutely need federal help in order to get us up and going again and make sure we don't have more closures,” she said.

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