JACKSONVILLE, Fla — The National Bureau of Economic Research predicts that only 15% of restaurants will be able to stay open if the COVID-19 pandemic lasts six months.
August marks month five, and local restaurants are open but struggling.
1748 Bakehouse, a bakery and restaurant in the historic Springfield neighborhood of Jacksonville, opened in October 2019. Owner Allison D'Aurizio had no clue what they had in store five months later.
Like every other restaurant, they have to limit the number of customers in the store which limits how much money they can make.
D'Aurizio says they've had to lay off employees as the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the U.S. economy and their own business. She says before coronavirus, they had lines out the door.
“We knew we had a sustainable, viable business model that people really wanted and that has given us a lot of comfort and a lot of motivation to be resilient," D'Aurizio said.
Business has slowed. She says it’s down about 40%.
“We feel like that if we can just hang on we will be able to weather this," D'Aurizio said.
She is showing support for the RESTAURANTS Act of 2020 on their social media. It makes her hopeful.
The act was introduced in Congress in June by an Oregon representative and has 182 co-sponsors including 11 from Florida. The act would provide grants to small restaurants to cover costs and keep them open.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer wrote an explainer of the act saying it would not only help the about 11 million people employed in the restaurant industry, but also the many other industries that are intertwined with the industry like the farmers that provide the fresh produce.
“This is an investment it is not a bail out. It is an investment to bring our economy back," said D'Aurizio.