CORONAVIRUS

Iowa restaurants, bars to lose $1.45 billion

Association CEO says 'outlook is bleak'

Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday Reynolds extended the provision requiring bars, restaurants and other venues serving alco
Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday Reynolds extended the provision requiring bars, restaurants and other venues serving alcohol to close at 10 p.m. (Kelsey Kremer/Des Moines Register

Iowa’s restaurants and bars are expected to lose $1.45 billion in food and beverage sales in 2020, according to a study by the state and national restaurant groups.

In addition, 41 percent of Iowa respondents said it was unlikely they would be in business six months from now without additional relief packages from the state or federal governments, the associations’ study said.

“These numbers are a stark reminder that our industry is on life-support,” Jessica Dunker, Iowa Restaurant Association president and CEO, said in a news release.

“We are an industry with razor-thin margins in good times. Without immediate state or federal relief, many won’t see spring.”

The Iowa association represents some 6,000 restaurants and bars as well as other hospitality and entertainment venues that serve food and beverages.

The study also found that 88 percent of respondents anticipated an even greater drop in sales during the next three months.

She cited the usual winter-weather drop in business along with service limitations put in place by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

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Those current requirements include capacity reductions, a halt in serving alcohol at 10 p.m. and no bar seating.

“Winter has come and the outlook is bleak,” Dunker said.

She noted one in nine Iowans are employed in the food and beverage service industry.

“No one built a business model that looked anything remotely like the conditions we’re operating under,” Dunker said.

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