As restrictions continue, hopelessness setting in for restaurant industry | KOB 4

As restrictions continue, hopelessness setting in for restaurant industry

Ryan Laughlin
Updated: August 05, 2020 08:05 PM
Created: August 05, 2020 04:46 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A new report from the National Restaurant Association shows the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on New Mexico eateries.

From March 1 through April 16, the data shows New Mexico restaurants lost $230 million in sales. The report also states that 47,000 restaurant employees were laid off or furloughed during that time.

"It's devastating and I think we've said that before, but this just puts that fine point on it," said Carol Wight, CEO of the New Mexico Restaurant Association.

The New Mexico Restaurant Association is currently suing the governor to lift an indoor dining ban.

"We're one of three states in the nation that does not have some kind of indoor dining," Wight said.

According to the National Restaurant Association, New Mexico, California and New Jersey are the only states that ban indoor dining.

"What is it with these 47 other governors that understand how to get their economies going and live with COVID and that our governor can't quite grasp," Wight asked. 

The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled this week the governor is legally allowed to impose fines on restaurants that intentionally defy the public health order. The decision was a blow to business owners, according to Wight.

"There's a lot of hopelessness going on in the restaurant industry right now," she said. "And you know, our only hope is the governor will see her way to helping us and open us back indoors."

Wight added that the survey also showed 210 restaurants in the state have closed permanently. She suspects many more will join them if restrictions don't change.

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